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Jun 11, 2008 07:10 AM

What's Up With Olive Oil on my veggies?

Was out to dinner last night and server recited available veggies. I picked the french green beans with no butter please. He then asked me if I wanted my potato and I replied that yes I did I just don't like butter on my green beans. When my dish came my g-beans were "glistening" and I asked why. Server says "Oh, that's the olive oil". Huh??? Why??? I like my g-beans with a touch of salt and certainly NOT with olive oil. It isn't like they were taking a picture. Is this a new trend?

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  1. I don't know, but I've been seeing it, too. I had some sauteed veggies and grilled eggplant from the caf downstairs last week -- and it was probably as unhealthy as a bucket of french fries! I mean, the whole point of getting veggies was to eat something healthy. I might as well have chugged a bottle of olive oil. PLEH!

    1. My guess would be that they parboil and shock the green beans early in the day, then finish individual portions for service in a suatee pan with a little butter. Since you asked for no butter they just used some olive oil instead.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LabRat

        That is probably correct. They prep them by par-boiling or steaming them, then flash, re-heat them in a saute pan to order...

      2. Linda, you may have been unclear with what you wanted when you asked for no butter-- the kitchen may have misinterpreted your request as "oh she has a dairy allergy" and thought that a traditional saute in olive oil would be fine. if you are requesting a veg w/o any oils at all, the best way to be clear is to ask the server "is it possible to steam the green beans?" or some such. otherwise the server can't really read your mind on the issue.

        8 Replies
        1. re: soupkitten

          There's nothing "traditional" about the use of olive oil in American cooking. Olives only grow in California. For most of the US and for most of our history, olive oil was an expensive import.

          1. re: MakingSense

            well, the op does not say she dined in a restaurant serving american food. . . i honestly assumed the restaurant was french because she ordered "french green beans"-- so if the chef was classically french trained, the beans would have been sauteed with butter, or if not, with olive oil. if it was an american restaurant serving "french green beans," then maybe there's more of an identity crisis going on in the kitchen! :)

            1. re: soupkitten

              Could have also been "french cut," simply a different style of slicing the beans. You can even buy those canned and frozen in any American grocery store.
              I wouldn't expect my vegetables to be sauteed in anything unless it was stated on the menu.

              1. re: MakingSense

                How can something be sauted without some kind of fat? Heated up in a dry pan? That's not sauteing.

                1. re: small h

                  I wouldn't expect vegetables to be sauteed. Why? Plain steamed is fine.
                  The menu would specify if another method of cooking was used, such as stir fried, roasted, grilled, sauteed, gratineed, deep fried, pureed, braised, paneed, stuffed, etc.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    Perhaps! I'm off to cook some broccoli - with my MIND!

                    When I was a compulsively dieting high school student (because everyone was, and I'm susceptible to peer pressure), I used to go to some restaurant called Lite Gourmet or Diet Delite or something like that. They "fried" potatoes by spritzing them with Pam and, essentially, air-popping them. This was not a satisfying food in any way. Now I steam vegetables and then dress them with a little bit of butter, splitting the difference between total austerity and artery-clogging indulgence.

            2. re: soupkitten

              I totally agree that the waiter/kitchen probably misinterpreted what you wanted. "No butter" doesn't mean fat-free. Next time I'd ask for steamed veggies with no added fat. It won't be a problem.

            3. Well, I live in California and I married into an Italian family and (Sicilian) MIL taught me most of what I know about cooking.

              So, instead of the boiled, overcooked, canned and frozen vegetables, served slathered in margarine of my childhood ~~ my children (now in their 20s) grew up with fresh vegetables sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic. they never even heard of vegetables with butter (or margarine) until they were in school and started having dinner at friends' homes; then came home and told us about it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: laliz

                I was just about to add that nearly any Italian restaurant her in the NY area with a la carte vegetables would prepare them with some olive oil.

                1. re: vvvindaloo

                  MakingSense: I'm pretty sure soupkitten was trying to imply that the technique of saute'ing the blanced beans was traditional, not that olive oil is indefinitely traced back to the cooking of native americans...

                  I'm 17 so I dont know everything about restaurants but I've been working in kitchens for a few years, and when I'm on expo and there's 20 orders on deck, I don't usually have the time to ponder the exact reason why one person asked for no butter on their green beans.

              2. Reminds me of my dinner Sunday night at a restaurant in Los Angeles. I ordered a "side of steamed vegetables," as listed on the menu, cooked well done (soft). They showed covered in butter. I asked the waiter if he knew they had butter on them, and he said, Oh I didn't realize you didn't want that. I said, it wasn't on the menu; I just assumed Steamed Vegetables meant steamed. He replaced them happily, then when returning the new plate, he said, Just so you know I asked, and they used to serve them just steamed naked, but people were complaining they were boring. My suggestion then is to call them "Mixed Vegetables," and for that I would inquire about what topping/sauce/condiment comes atop them and choose whether to omit it myself. My waiter understood that there was no way for me to anticipate given the menu.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Emme

                  They were haricot vert and the place IS an Italian steakhouse. Had all the traditional steakhouse starters, etc. so it didn't enter my teeny lol mind that they would come with olive oil. Next time I'll just ask for steamed dry.

                  1. re: Linda VH

                    Just teaches you to be careful in the future :) Every meal is practice for a future one!