Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fresh cranberry beans with summer pistou

I can't pass a farmers' market without buying something. Last week I got lucky and snagged a tangle of fresh cranberry beans, still in their pods, a few quick steps away from dinner. Fresh beans cook in 20 - 25 minutes and certainly don't need soaking. At the same stand, I grabbed some parsley and arugula, thinking a quick pistou would be a lovely foil for the beans. We ate the beans with a big arugula salad and some homemade meatballs that mom made.

Fresh cranberry beans with summer pistou
Serves 2 -4, depending on what else is for dinner
1.5 pounds of fresh cranberry beans to make about 1 pound shelled
A good fistful of parsley
1-2 cups of arugula
1 garlic clove
Hard cheese, like Parmesan, finely grated
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Olive oil, salt, pepper

Bring a medium pot of water to the boil and shell the beans by pulling on the string at one side meanwhile. Salt the water generously and add the beans. Taste them after 20 minutes; drain if tender or let cook for another 5 minutes or so. Meanwhile, make the pistou. I make mine using a mortar and pestle, but you can use a small food processor. If you decide to use a mortar and pestle, chop the parsely and arugula and the garlic finely, then pound in the mortar, adding salt, pepper, grated Parmesan cheese, juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/4 cup of olive oil. If making in the food processor, just let the machine blitz it all together. Either way, taste to make sure you like it.
By now, the beans should be tender but not mushy. Mix the drained beans with the pistou, taste to see if additional cheese, salt, or pepper are needed and serve.

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