Monday, June 11, 2012

Long Cooked Romano Beans

I'm just starting to see Romano beans in the markets. Here's my favorite way to cook them! You can substitute Blue Lake or Kentucky Wonder beans but they don't have the same "squeaky" character in your mouth as Romanos do. 

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As many of you know I'm not one for a lot of meticulous measuring of ingredients. Measurements are approximate. For those who prefer detail, I've tried to make up for it in the instructions. Just follow these directions and trust your instincts, it will come out just fine.  

1/2 pound Romano beans
2-3 cloves of garlic, slivered (and of course more if you love garlic!)
3 T. extra virgin olive oil 
1 inch stem of fresh rosemary, you can take the leaves off the stem and chop them if you prefer
Pinch of salt, fresh ground black pepper

Start with about a half a pound of Romanos, enough for four servings. Remove the stem end and cut the bean in two or three pieces. Pieces should be about 1.5 to 3 inches. Place beans in a medium saucepan and add enough water to come up to the first joint of your index finger (about 1 inch.) Add garlic, rosemary, olive oil and salt. Cover the pan and bring it to boil on high heat. Once boiling, which should take about 4 minutes, reduce heat to medium. The beans will continue to boil briskly. Keep the pan covered tightly (or the water will evaporate too quickly.) Check after 6-8 minutes to make sure water has not completely evaporated. The beans can cook for 12-15 minutes, but they should be well done. Do not cook them al dente. They should appear olive green, not bright green.

The beans are done when almost all of the water has evaporated. So the last 4-5 minutes it is vital that you check every few minutes. The water and oil, by boiling rapidly will emulsify, creating a sauce-like consistency. As it is getting close, leave the lid off so you can keep a close eye on the beans. If you hear a 'frying' or sizzling in the pan, your water has evaporated. Oops, just add a tablespoon of water and boil for a minute. Check for salt and add a turn or two of the pepper grinder before serving. 

Fresh Romanos develop this wonderful, almost squeaky quality that make them an unusual treat! The garlic is well cooked and sweet. You can even add a little more chopped fresh rosemary if you like. The exact measurements are not as important as long-cooking the beans and boiling them rapidly in a covered pan to create a 'sauce'. They are awesome with some grilled pork chops or...well grilled anything. They are good left over, but seldom are there any left. 

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