Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fresh romano beans

I love beans. Sweetie is allergic to beans. When sweetie is away, I make "bean delight!" Doesn't matter what the dish is, we always call it bean delight.

My last bean delight dish was a warm romano bean salad. I was thrilled to find fresh romano beans at a local produce place and greedily purchased them for my dinner. I was so happy, I think I skipped a few steps along the Drive.

Reality set in when I got the beans home. Now what? How do I tackle this now foreign-looking bag of pods? I took a three-pronged approach:

  1. Ask Twitter. This was a #fail, which I attribute to the Italians still being asleep when I tweeted.
  2. Call Mom. Dad answered, uh-oh, Mom was out of the country. I tried to get Dad to channel nonna for her recipe but it was futile.
  3. Google the experts.

Google wasn't as easy as it sounds, partly because I didn't know that romano beans are also called cranberry beans or borlotti beans. I settled on combining the wisdom of Mark Bittman and David Lebovitz.

Here's what I did. It's nonna-style, with imprecise quantities and instructions. Simply do what feels right.

Warm romano bean salad

  • Shell your romano beans: This is best done outside because that's how my nonnas did it. Before starting, pour yourself a nice glass of red wine (that's my addition). Shell the beans directly into your pot. Discard the pods.
  • Add water and a few cloves of garlic to your pot of beans and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer 20-30 minutes or to your liking.
  • Drain.
  • Mix the warm beans with your favourite vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette for about 2 cups of cooked beans

Mix together:

  • 5 T olive oil
  • Thinly sliced onions
  • Chopped fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 T dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Add the warm beans to your vinaigrette. Try adding tomatoes or greens if you like.

Enjoy your bean delight!