Re-Shelled

This one, I felt, deserved its own entry, rather than being tacked onto the previous shelling bean post.

Two reasons, your honor.

One is that the recipe is one of those rare, beauteously simple exercises that can rest exclusively on a visit to a Suzie’s Farm stand.

The second is that you really should check out this kindred spirit of a website whence it came.

Okay, cook.

Fresh Shelling Bean and Arugula Salad

Ingredients:
(Serves 3-4 as an appetizer or side dish)

1 pound fresh dragon’s tongue or tiger’s eye beans in the shell
1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of your favorite vinegar (pick the one that pairs best with the herbs you choose…see below)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh herbs, finely chopped (either rosemary, sage, chives, parsley, or cilantro)
1 cup baby arugula leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Procedure:

Shell the fresh beans. Put the beans in a medium, heavy pot and cover with water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and simmer gently for about an hour, or until the beans are tender. (Note: do not salt the water.)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, olive oil, lemon or lime juice and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Drain the beans and gently rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
Toss the beans in the dressing. Taste and correct for salt – you will probably need to add quite a bit more salt at this point. Add the fresh herbs to taste and the baby arugula leaves. Toss very gently to combine. Add a few grindings of black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

You can alter this recipe in so many ways. Experiment with different types of greens (finely shredded kale would be nice, or chopped endive). Add a chopped fresh chile. Experiment with the types of herbs you use. Add a pinch of cumin and a squeeze of lime juice. Or a squashed anchovy. Pile up on toasted bread rubbed with a clove of garlic. Serve the salad while the beans are still a bit warm, or at room temperature. As they often say, the possibilities are endless…and in this case, they are right.

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