The following recipes are reprinted with permission from Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets.
Yellow Wax Beans with Lemon Thyme & Yellow Tomatoes
This is a pretty dish of beans, and pretty good to eat, too.
1 pound yellow wax beans or other fresh beans, as you prefer
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 yellow tomato, peeled, seeded, diced
2 tsp. finely chopped lemon thyme
1. Tip, tail, then cut the beans into 3-inch lengths. Boil them in plenty of salted water, uncovered, until tender firm, about 5 minutes. Taste to make sure, though. Beans can take a while, depending on their size.
2. While they’re cooking, melt the butter with the olive oil, add the shallots, and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the tomato and thyme.
3. Drain the beans as soon as they’re done, add them to the pan, and cook briefly, coating them with the sauce. Season with a few drops of vinegar and serve.
White Beans with Black Kale and Savoy Cabbage
If you add water or stock, you can make this into a hearty minestrone to serve with garlic-rubbed toast. One day I decided to stop before adding the liquid and just enjoyed the two greens entwined with the beans. You can still serve it over toast for a hearty bruschetta, over pasta, or as a side to a roast chicken.
1 cup dried cannellini, navy beans, or gigantes, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, finely diced
2 leeks, white parts only, diced
1 bunch black kale, the leaves stripped from the stems and slivered
1 small Savoy cabbage, quartered, cored, and chopped
2 plump garlic cloves, minced or pounded with a pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to finish
1. Drain the soaked beans, then put them in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, about 1-1/2 hours.
2. While the beans are cooking, chop all the vegetables. Rinse the leeks, kale, and cabbage, but don’t dry them.
3. Warm 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy wide skillet. Add the onion and leeks and cook over medium-low heat until the onion is soft but not browned, about 12 minutes. Add the kale, cabbage, garlic, parsley, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook with the heat on low and the pan covered until the vegetables are soft and the volume greatly reduced, about 30 minutes.
4. When the beans are done, add them, along with a cup or two of their cooking liquid, to the pot. Simmer until the greens are completely tender. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Serve with, or over, garlic-rubbed toast, drizzled with olive oil.
Read Linda Egenes’s interview with Deborah Madison in May 2008.