Saturday, November 30, 2013

Two Kinds Of Beans

A trip to the farmer's market and a vegetable dinner wasn't far behind. A bundle of fresh green beans instead of calling out for crisp cooking and  tangy lemony vinaigrette as they do in summer seemed to ask to be slow cooked until sweet and melt in your mouth tender. I started a pot with chopped onions, chopped carrots, crushed garlic cloves and olive oil. After about 5 minutes I added in the beans and a good sized pinch of salt. While the covered pot simmered I splashed in a little chicken broth here and there to make sure the beans didn't scorch. After 40 minutes what emerged was in no way a modern dish but comfort food from years gone by before haute cuisine gave vegetables a new identity and a new resilience on our plates.
Another market treat -- fresh shell beans, right from the pod. I dropped my shelled beans into a pot of boiling salted water with a smashed clove of garlic and one bay leaf. The beans simmered for about 30 minutes until tender and creamy. While still warm, inspired by Marcella Hazan's fresh bean salad, I dressed the beans with a vinaigrette of juice of one lemon (a beautiful shiny Meyer right off our tree), 1/4 cup olive oil, minced garlic, crushed red peppers, 2 anchovy filets, chopped parsley and S&P. I tossed the warm beans in the dressing along with a handful of fresh arugula and parmesan cheese. The arugula wilted slightly and soaked up the lemony dressing making a dish as good in summer and it is in late fall -- whenever fresh beans are ready for harvest.
Two Italian dishes, two types of beans one weekend dinner from our little kitchen in the valley.

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