This past Wednesday I noticed for the first time that fresh cannellini beans were available at the Union Square Greenmarket. Yeah, I know. I think they may have been offered there for some time, by several farmers, but it was only while I was picking out potatoes at Mountain Sweet Berry Farm‘s stall that I really noticed them. I overheard someone asking about the farm’s fresh beans. I joined the conversation, and a minute or two later I was on my way home with, not just fresh cannellini beans, but fresh cannellini beans, still in their yellow pods. I was so excited about my find that it didn’t occur to me that once home I would have trouble learning how to prepare them (the only things that came to mind were garlic and sage). I found nothing inside any of the volumes on my long shelf of Italian cookbooks, and nothing on line, until I came across Georgeanne Brennan’s post on the SFGATE site.
While I ended up altering her recipe somewhat, I have to give her almost full credit for the extraordinarily delicious fruit of what was only a modest industry in the kitchen tonight, and for the fact that the meal ended up even more Tuscan in character than I could otherwise have imagined. The beans were, literally out of this word, a perfect example of the beauty of fresh natural ingredients treated minimally. Also, the combination of beans, tomato and shallots was a union inspired by the gods, or at least those who were still hanging around Italy after the discovery of the New World.
I’ve saved the beans’ rich cooking broth as a small treasure, to be incorporated, I hope, in a sauce later this weekend.
- serious pastured veal loin chops from Tamarack Hollow Farm, seared, rubbed with crushed garlic from Garden of Spices Farm, then roasted in a hot oven for six or seven minutes, removed, allowed to rest on warm plates for five minutes, while being drizzled with the pan juices, lemon, and olive oil, and finally scattered with chopped lovage from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm
- fresh cannellini beans from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, rinsed and podded, placed in a saucepan under two inches of water along with sage from Berried Treasures and a fresh bay leaf from West Side Market, slowly heated for about 25 minutes, then added to a mixture of sautéed shallots from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm and some roughly-chopped heirloom tomatoes (yellow and maroon) from Berried Treasures, finished with lemon juice, and parsley from Paffenroth Gardens
- minutina from Bodhitree Farm, barely wilted, then seasoned with salt and pepper and good olive oil
- the wine was a light Italian red, Il Commensale Dolcetto d’Aqui 2012