7.18.14 Fresh, Direct

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photos by gluttonforlife
This is a quickie, just in case you've been eyeing those beautiful fresh beans at the famers market and been confused as to how you might eat them. They're not string beans—you don't eat the pod—but inside is a row of firm, buttery nuggets packed with flavor and nutrition. In the case of these cranberry beans, also called borlotti, the beautiful, red-streaked pod will catch your eye. The beans themselves are also flecked or striped with deep red, but they lose this color when cooked. No matter, they make up for it in other ways. Simply braised until tender, you can use these beans as you would dried ones, though they offer a distinct texture. I like them best drained of their liquid and tossed with a little sherry vinegar and some spicy green olive oil. Add whatever raw or cooked vegetables you have on hand—garlic, onions, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, greens—for a dish that's delicious warm, at room temp or cold.
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pod people
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small heads
Go crazy cooking with all that new garlic that's around. It's fresh and juicy, with a pungent sweetness. Spread roasted cloves on grilled bread. Or, in this case, drop a whole head into the braising liquid for your beans.
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in the pot
I also added a bay leaf, some dried chiles and a small onion to give a little more flavor to the pot.
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hill o' beans
Once they were done, I topped the beans with a simple ragout of fresh tomato, anchovy and herbs. A little sea salt, a scattering of chopped basil, one more drizzle of olive oil and dinner was served. With a glass of rosé, your life will be complete.

Have a beautiful weekend, my friends, and stay tuned next week for the film debut of Glutton for Life! xo

Fresh Cranberry Beans with Tomato Ragout

serves 2 as a main course
  • — 2 cups fresh cranberry beans (shelled)
  • — 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • — 1 small head garlic, root end sliced off
  • — 1 bay leaf
  • — 2 dried chiles de àrbol
  • — 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • — 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
  • — 4 anchovy fillets
  • — 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • — 2 small tomatoes (about 1/2 lb), each cut into 8 wedges
  • — 2 rosemary sprigs
  • — 3 tablespoons minced parsley
  • — 2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil

Combine beans, onion, garlic, bay leaf and chiles in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté onion for 5 minutes. Add the anchovies and cook for a couple minutes more before adding the vinegar and a couple pinches of sea salt. When the vinegar is absorbed, add the tomatoes and herb. Cook until the tomatoes are broken down and jammy, about 15 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

When the beans are done, drain and discard the liquid. Remove and discard the onion, garlic, bay leaf and chiles. Place the beans in a large bowl and toss with a just enough olive oil and sherry vinegar to lightly coat. Add salt to taste.

To serve, place beans in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Spoon tomato ragout over, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and scatter basil around the perimeter.

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LOVELY. It's almost time for the most surly unpleasant farmers market person to arrive in Baltimore with coolers full of shelled beans. They're so good when fresh that I put up with his bad self. I'll pressure can the beans to enjoy all year round. Film Debut!? Very exciting. xoxox
Cathy on July 18, 2014 at 6:37 pm —
Beans are the easiest thing in the world to grow and they grow vertically! Could probably grow from a large container set against a wall trellis if space is an issue. Sprout a handful of surly-man's beans and plant them now. You'll have a harvest by the end of September.
Tunie on July 19, 2014 at 5:26 pm —