|Fresh Bean Gratin|
Last week I got these fresh shell beans -la lengue de fuego - or Tongue of Fire. Love the name! Not to mention when you bust open a pod and those bright purple beans fall out! Unfortunately they lose the color when cooked, but still taste great. I cooked them 2 ways this time - the first was a Bean Gratin - I thought it was going to be boring, but it was delicious. And the second were just simply cooked. I washed them and then sautéed a little sliced onion then barely covered the beans with chicken broth and cooked for about 25 min, or just until tender. They are so fresh it only takes a little while and no soaking required! Those I served with some grilled scallops. Fresh shell beans are well worth the effort if you can find them at the farmer's market - and worth the time it takes to shell. Also they freeze well, just shell and put in a ziploc and then you'll have fresh beans this winter.
Bean Gratin serves about 6 adapted from Alice Waters
About 2 cups shelled fresh beans
couple tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
4 fresh sage leaves chopped
1 stalk fresh thyme, leaves pulled off
2/3 cup chopped fresh tomatoes (or canned)
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs - using fresh bread (I have plenty of my bread leftover!) put in blender and process. Toss with a couple tablespoons olive oil and spread on baking sheet and toast until crispy.
Cook the fresh shelled beans in enough water to cover for about 20 min or until just tender - add salt to taste (if you can't find fresh, cook dried cranberry beans until tender about 2 hours). Saute in another large pot the 1st 3 veggies in the olive oil until soft, about 15 min then add in the garlic and fresh herbs for another couple min. Finally add the tomatoes cooking for another 5 min then the cooked beans and salt and pepper to taste. And another glug of olive oil! Put in a gratin dish and add the bean liquid to lightly cover then top with toasted bread crumbs and cook about 35 min at 350 degrees. Great side dish with some grilled pork chops or roasted chicken. Enjoy the crusty goodness!