Saturday, September 28, 2013

50 Women Game-Changers in Food - #6 Marcella Hazan - Cold Herb-Flavored Marinated Green Beans

Marcella Hazan holds sixth place on the Gourmet Live list of 50 Women Game-Changers in food. Her name is well known to lovers of Italian food and her six best-selling cookbooks make her as important to Italian cooking as Julia Child is to French. She is credited with introducing American cooks to Italian regional food and ending the red sauce siege of American kitchens. Her background is very interesting. She was born in Egypt and survived the German occupation of Italy during World War II. As a young woman, she was a biology teacher whose credentials were supported by two doctoral degrees. Her interest in cooking did not begin until her marriage to an Italian-American. Much like Julia Child, she learned to cook in order to please her husband. She had no need or desire to cook in Italy, and had they remained there, we would never have heard her voice. Despite a lack of formal training, she had taste memories that she was able to translate to the Italian food she prepared for her husband in their American kitchen. Fortunately, she recorded her recipes and began to teach regional Italian cooking from her kitchen in New York City. She was discovered by Craig Claiborne, who was instrumental in finding a publisher for her first book, and Julia Child helped walk her through the vagaries of the New York publishing scene. She appears to be a woman of strong conviction but one without affectation. She considers herself to be a home cook and is offended by attempts to label her a gourmet, an expression she believes is pretentious.

Marcella and her husband, Victor, now live in Florida. Jaden Hair recently did a charming interview with the couple who are both now in their eighties. The interview can be found on Jaden's blog, Steamy Kitchen, which you can access here.

Selecting recipes that represent the work of the women who appear on the Gourmet list can be daunting. In all cases, I've made a conscious effort to choose recipes that can easily be made in home kitchens. One of Marcella's gifts to her readers is the balance of the herbs and spices she uses in her recipes. That gift is evident in today's recipe for marinated green beans. These are nothing like the ubiquitous bean salad that appears at potlucks and picnics. I really liked these. I hope you will too.

Cold Herb-Flavored Marinated Green Beans...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Marcella Hazan


2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon fresh oregano

5 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 pound green beans

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste (Kosher or sea salt)

Fresh ground pepper to taste


1) Choose a large bowl and place parsley, basil, oregano and vinegar in it. let it steep for 10 minutes. Add onion and garlic and mix well. Let steep for another 30 minutes.

2) Snap off ends of green beans, rinse in cold water, and drop them into boiling salt water. Drain string beans while still very firm. Add warm green beans to bowl with vinegar and herbs. Marinate for a minimum of 1 hour and as much as 5 or 6 hours. Mix thoroughly from time-to-time. Serve beans at room temperature, adding olive oil and salt and pepper to taste just before serving. Yield: 6 servings.

The following bloggers are also paying tribute to Marcella this week. I hope you'll visit all of them.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast

Joanne - Eats Well With Others

Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed

Susan - The Spice Garden

Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey

Heather - girlichef

Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney

Jeanette - Healthy Living

April - Abby Sweets

Katie - Making Michael Poland Proud

Mary - One Perfect Bite

Kathleen -Bake Away with Me

Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen

Next week we will highlight the food and recipes of Madhur Jaffrey. If you'd like to join us please email me for additional information. Everyone is welcome.

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