Saturday, June 19, 2010
Locally green beans should be coming into market in the coming days. this is yet another discipline task in the professional kitchen cause if i am going to use beans for the evening dinner service i need just shy of a 40# box. they then need to cleaned, blanched, chilled, re-heated, seasoned, and served. i like to pick off only the wooded stem end and i like to keep them whole (most people like to break them in half) because they present a bit nicer. there are many variety's of beans to chose from and with my location at least, so many of those varieties are able to grow locally. flat beans, haricot vert, romano, pole beans, and whole families of waxy beans. cooking will be the same for almost all of them. a quick blanch in boiling water that has been salted. the salt is a chance to get some seasoning on the beans, the water should be salty enough to taste like the ocean. often people will add baking soda to the water as it will help to preserve the bright colors of the beans. i am not a fan of adding chemicals that don't need to be there, so i will usually add the juice from a lemon or two. the acidic reaction will help as much as baking soda will. the beans only need a moment in boiling water, again most times people will say to let the water return to a boil but i think that is too long. then into some ice water and chilled. another key is to get them out of the water as soon as they are cool. the more time they sit the more they will absorb so get them cold and get them out and let them drain as much as possible. they can be held like this for more than a day but not more than two, as the remaining water will deteriorate the flesh of the bean quickly. when ready to eat, another quick ride in some boiling water will get them hot, i like them with some salt and olive oil, but blanch them a tad longer and get them dry and toss them with a vinaigrette, and some nuts and you have a wonderful bean salad. a healthy handful will feed a family of 3 or 4 which makes them inexpensive, healthy, local, and delicious.