There’s a taverna called Rouvas, just by the market in the centre of Corfu Town. No-one has paid any attention to the décor for decades – there are still 1970s travel posters on the walls – and the food is very much old school Corfiot cooking. No fancy sauces, just huge saucepans of stews, meat and vegetable, keeping warm on the back burners.
It dishes up the best stewed green beans: oily, soft and flavoursome. I’ve never been able to replicate it, mostly because I cannot bring myself to add the quantities of olive oil I think is probably necessary; or to leave the pan only just simmering for hours on end.
So this is my approximation. It’s excellent on its own mopped up with crusty fresh bread, or as an accompaniment to grilled meats.
400g tin tomatoes
1 onion roughly sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon mixed spice
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
100ml olive oil (doesn’t have to be extra virgin)
500g green beans (french or runner), topped and tailed
Add all the ingredients to a saucepan. Use the tomatoes tin to add 3 measures of water. Bring everything to a simmer and cook for at least an hour – you want the tomato sauce to be saucy but not too thick. The beans should have absolutely no crunch in them.
For added Greekness, sprinkle over some fresh oregano leaves before serving luke warm or at room temperature. Not hot.