Fresh cranberry beans, which are sold almost everywhere from July through September, are a revelation. They can be cooked until they're tender without losing their shape. As for the pea shoots, the smaller the better. Be sure that the hazelnut oil is fresh and made from unroasted nuts.
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3 pounds fresh cranberry beans, shelled
3 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
One 1/4 -pound piece of slab bacon (optional)
1 medium onion, quartered
4 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup unroasted hazelnut oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups small pea shoots (about 3 ounces)
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberry beans with the chicken stock, slab bacon, onion, thyme sprigs and garlic. Partially cover and cook over moderate heat until the beans are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving 2 tablespoons of the stock. Pick out and discard the bacon, onion, thyme sprigs and garlic. Transfer the beans to a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour, or omit the ice water and refrigerate overnight.
In a large bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard and the 2 tablespoons of reserved stock. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the pea shoots with a little of the dressing and transfer them to a platter. Add the beans to the remaining dressing and toss until coated. Spoon the beans onto the pea shoots and serve.
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