Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cranberry Beans

Somewhere between the very end of July and the beginning of August, fresh cranberry beans start showing up at the farmers market. And what a delight they are! These are one of the things that will automatically catch your eye among all the cauliflower, broccoli, and onions that are also in their prime. The fresh cranberry beans are very pretty, each fairly large pod (these are thicker and bigger than green beans) flecked with hues of deep cranberry red, and creamy white. For a nice side dish for dinner, I picked about eight large handfuls of the pods, and the good people of Kimball Fruit Farm sent me on my way.
For those who haven't prepared fresh shelling beans before, there's really no need to be intimidated. It's much like preparing fresh English shelling peas. Sit down, and turn on some mundane, mindless TV, and begin stripping your beans from the pods. As you do this, don't be surprised if you're enchanted by the matching hue of the beans to the pods. They are adorable... like little pink freckles on a little bean.
At any rate, after you've shelled all of your beans, the preparation gets a little harder. Just kidding. Put a pot of water on the boil, and throw in a good dose of salt, kind of like you're about to boil up some macaroni. While that's heating up, I like to mince up about eight or nine cloves of garlic (I like this dish very garlicy), and a medium size shallot. About two tablespoons of butter on low heat in a skillet, and throw in your garlic and shallot to soften up, and if they get a little crispy, that's only going to add another dimension to the texture of your bean dish.
Your water should have come to a boil by now, and its time to throw in your beans. I let them gently boil for about ten to fifteen minutes, tasting after ten to see if they are tender. When they're no longer mealy, they're ready to join your butter, shallots, and garlic. Give everything a toss, a shake of salt, and I like a dash of majoram or parsley... compulsive herbing, if you will.
First taste is going to be buttery, and a bit nutty. Fresh cranberry beans need little seasoning, because they're just so darn delicious on their own. The texture is going to be tender, but still with a little more robust chew than your run of the mill canned cannellini beans. Not much to say beyond this... fresh cranberry beans, nutty, unique, and so darn pretty, sauteed with a little butter, garlic, and shallot. Keep it simple, stupid.

No comments:

Post a Comment