Remember these? The pretty pink beans I bought at the market on Sunday?
Turns out I bought just about a pound:
I had all these grand plans of doing research on heirloom beans and tell you all about them.
Yeah, not so much. I did shell them: :
Then I cooked them for 30 minutes in boiling water. Sadly they don’t stay pink:
(Side note: I really need to clean those spots on the stove. Does anyone have an old stove that just attracts crud, no matter how often you scrub it? I swear, we get ours perfectly clean, boil a pot of water and the stove looks cruddy again – even when there are no spatters. What is up with that? If I had more time, it would probably make me upset, but I just kind of ignore it until it’s time to clean the stove again, which would be like now).
Anyways, back to the beans. After they had cooked, I tasted them and they reminded me of cannellini beans but more complex. Then I emailed the pictures to my mom (who is from the Italian part of Switzerland) and she said they looked to be similar to borlotti beans, which are very popular in Italy, i.e. anything but heirloom status there – they are everywhere and fairly inexpensive.
At that point, I was debating between making a basic heirloom bean salad that is so popular in the U.S. (i.e. red onions, vinegar, maybe some mustard), making an Italian dish based on a borlotti recipe, or just use up what I had in the fridge.
I went with the third option, as I had a couple of limes and some green chiles that desperately needed to be used up last night. If I can find the beans again at the market on Sunday, I may go a more traditional route, but for now this lightly Southwestern inspired option may inspire you:
Pink to Lime Salad (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Low-Glycemic, Nut-Free, Soy-Free)
Makes 2-3 side servings
- 1 pound fresh bird’s eye beans in their pod (substitute 8 oz shelled cannellini, navy or borlotti beans)
- 2-3 green chiles (I used two Hatch and one jalapeño)
- 2 tsps grapeseed oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup carrot)
- 2 scallions chopped
- juice of one lime
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, optional (see note below)
Shell the beans. You should end up with about 8oz of beans (or one overflowing cup measure). Place the beans in a small pot, cover with water so that there is about an inch of water above the beans. Cook beans over medium heat for 20-30 minutes. You want them to be tender but not mushy. Drain beans and put aside.
While the beans are cooking, roast the chilies. There are several methods to do this (including using the oven), but for speed, I like just heating a hot non-stick pan, placing the chillies in it, and pressing them down with a heavy metal lid. Turn chilies every few minutes, but the pressing of the chilies means they roast within 10 minutes or so. Once the skin blisters, set the chilies aside, allow to cool and peel most of the skin off. Cut the chilies in half, remove the seeds if you wish, and coarsely chop the chilies.
In a saute pan, heat the grapeseed oil, add the garlic, stir for a few minutes, until the garlic is softened but not brown. Add the carrots and chillies, allow flavors to meld for two minutes, and then add beans. Stir and heat through, turn heat off and add chopped scallions and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: I did not have any cilantro, but it should work with this dish, since cilantro goes so well with chilie and lime. That said, I did not miss the cilantro at all in this dish.
No lovely pinkness left, but some seriously delicious lime-scallion flavors:
This dish is really versatile – you could replace the scallions and/or chilies with celery, add more carrots, use vinegar or lemon juice instead of lime, serve it warm or cold. Rather than a fancy researched recipe, I went with what was in the fridge and would taste good, yet work with a new-to-me ingredient. I also like that the dish tastes rich from the texture of the beans, but uses very little oil.
I have decided to submit this to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and to The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s Gluten-Free Wednesday as I have seen mentions on twitter and blogs of these particular beans cropping up at farmers’ markets in several parts of the country. If you do not have bird’s eye beans, I think any kind of shelled cannellini, navy or borlotti beans would be lovely in this recipe. Update on September 14, 2010, here is the link for Amy’s Slight Indulgent Tuesday for September 14, 2010 and the link for Gluten-Free Wednesday of September 15, 2010..
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