Fresh Shelling Bean Salad

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When I applied for my job at Chez Panisse, I’d just left a restaurant where the chef was, what we call in the business, a “screamer”. That is, one of those chefs who flips out in the kitchen and yells indiscriminately.

Contrary to what television might lead you to think, this isn’t a new, or even trendy, phenomenon. (The other type of chef that cooks dread are the “watchers”, the less-telegenic chefs, who stand around and watch everyone else do all the work.)

vertical beans tomatoes

The job I’d left was the only job that I ever dreaded going to since every day was pretty much a cauchemar (nightmare). So with a bit of trepidation, I asked Alice if she ever yelled, and she said, “Only if I see good food going bad. That makes me angry.”

beans

Fair enough—since I agreed.

Whenever I would see someone wasting something precious, like raspberries, or letting them go bad, I realized that those people likely had never navigated the thorny branches to see what goes into picking that pint of those berries. Or spent a few back-breaking hours hunched over in the scalding-hot sun, picking strawberries. So when people complain about the price of berries, I say, “Well, how much would you charge if you have to pick them?”

Shelling beans are another precious commodity. Although they’re not terribly expensive (one pound, or 450 g, cost me roughly €2), they do take a bit of preparation and I remember preparing a meal for a group which included a nice pile of fresh shelling beans as part of the main course. Then watching the plates come back into the kitchen with a majority of the hard-earned beans untouched. Merde!

shelled beans

I don’t know what people have against beans, but I love ‘em. I mean, I really, really love beans. If you’ve never had great beans, if you can’t get fresh, you should treat yourself to a bag of Rancho Gordo beans, which are one of the few things I stock up on when making trips back to the states.

But in the late summer and fall, I buy shelling beans at my market. Perhaps the most famous in France are the haricot de Paimpol from Brittany, which are so esteemed, they have their own AOC status. Some have wild markings, like Borlotti beans, and you expect the cooked beans to have the same striations. But often they diminish when cooked.

tomato plate

Instead of making a long-simmered meat dish or soup with them, I prefer them as close to fresh and nature (pure) as possible. They’re really easy to prepare; just peel off the husks then simmer the beans in gently boiling water to which I often toss in a bay leaf and some herbs.

salad of beans

When they’re done, I douse them in a bit of vinaigrette made from olive oil, vinegar, and a bit of salt, right away, while they’re still warm so they absorb the flavor of the dressing. Even easier is to drizzle them with walnut or hazelnut oil and a bit of sea salt, then let them cool.

Now that, my friends, is something worth screaming for.

Fresh Shelling Bean Salad
About 2 cups (250 g)

You can use a favorite vinaigrette (about 1/4 cup, 60 ml) and perhaps include a chopped shallot to mix with the warm beans, too. A handful of fresh herbs is delightful, but I wait until the beans are cool to add them so they don’t lose their oomph. I enjoy them often tossed with good summer tomatoes and lots of fresh basil, which is pretty much my favorite summer salad.

They’re also insanely-good tossed with thin spaghetti, steamed green beans, a swirl of pesto stirred in, then topped with toasted breadcrumbs.

  • 3 quarts (3l) of very lightly salted water
  • 1 pound (450 g) shelling beans, shucked
  • optional: a bay leaf, a few branches of thyme or savory, half a small onion

1. In a large covered saucepan, bring the water to a boil.

2. Add the beans and any, or all, of the optional seasonings.

3. Reduce the heat to a low boil and cook for 25-30 minutes with the lid ajar, until the beans are tender. But be careful not to overcook them. You may need to add more water while they’re cooking.

4. Drain the beans, then toss with while warm with vinaigrette and a peeled and minced shallot, or a drizzle of walnut or hazelnut oil and sea salt.

To serve, add a handful of fresh herbs, such as thyme, chives, or basil. Toss well, and mix with tomatoes, par-boiled green or yellow beans, or serve on their own, alongside roast pork loin.

Note: The two beans shown in the post are different. The ones with the red markings are Borlotti beans, and the ones on the plate, in the salad, are the haricot de Paimpol, or haricot coco, their non-AOC cousins.)

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63 comments

  • have been wanting to eat more beans, but never know what to do with them – can’t wait to try this! thnx

  • Er–sounds good and very healthy.
    Now, excuse my ignorance when I ask this, but how does one get beans shucked–is there some sort of “shell”. I’m also asking, because I am contemplating another bean recipe from scratch and am not sure about what do with ‘em right out of the supermarket packaging.

  • We’ve got ‘em coming out our ears this year, white, pinto, black etc…make a great salad with the corn (off the cob)/tomatoes/carrots/cilantro and whichever peppers are ripe. We have one little green number that makes even Caesar weep. It is work, but well worth it and twice as good when all the ingredients come out of your own garden, except for the oil & vinegar of course…

  • I love ‘em too. I was going to go out for lunch, but the pile of herbs in my fridge is not going to last forever. Beans and pesto it is.

  • sounds delicious! where could i buy these beans in paris?

  • Hello David,
    It really is a great recipe and a good way of eating beans. We generally cook them with onions, tomatoes and carrots in olive oil and eat them as meze(appetizer) in Istanbul. I will sure try your version!

  • I hate wasting food as well. Using up lefover produces makes me creative and I love that. Gorgeous photos of the cranberry/borolotti beans.

  • Thanks, David — I saw the haricots coco (from Paimpol, no less) at the marche this week, but wasn’t sure what to do with them. Now I know, and I suspect they’ll show up on our table before the week is out.

  • David,
    Can I use scarlet runner beans?
    I have a ton in my garden I have not made yet because I haven’t been sure what to do with them…

  • This sounds wonderful. I’m always looking for new excuses to cook beans. I could eat them everyday!

  • Hi David,

    Very interesting post, as usual!

    I’d like to add a piece of information that might interrest you (or not!): in les Deux-Sèvres (the French region I come from) and in Vendée, we have a bean that you certainly know called “les Mogettes”. If you don’t know it, I highly recommend to you to test them following my grandmother recipe (in French):

    Faire revenir de l’ail dans de l’huile d’olive au fond d’une casserole.
    Y ajouter les mogettes, remuer jusqu’à ce que les mogettes brillent (comme pour le riz dans un risotto).
    Couvrir entièrement avec de l’eau bouillante.
    Ajouter deux ou trois tomates coupées en quatre, quelques carottes entières, deux oignons coupés en quatre, deux ou trois feuilles de laurier et un peu de thym. Saler et poivrer.
    Couvrir puis laisser mijoter jusqu’à obtenir une cuisson tendre puis déguster chaud.

    It’s pure delight! Enjoy!

  • Great post! I completely agree with you. I grew blackeyed peas and fava beans this year. A lot of love went into growing and shelling them. Made them taste all the better. The poor misunderstood bean…

  • No waste with these speckled babies! I managed to can a few jars out of my garden this year but not nearly enough. So I am waiting for the big bags of Cocos to appear- shelling 20 kg is an afternoon’s meditation. Oh, any leftovers made great refried beans for those pesky Mexi-cravings.

  • I am amazed at how many people don’t know the difference between the dried version and the fresh version. I like the dried ones, I LOVE the fresh version. If it’s a good year I will blanch and freeze some canellini, but in recent years there has been a blight leaving few for us amateurs. I like a bit of salt, a spicy olive oil, a grind of pepper.

  • I just cooked cranberry beans for the first time last night. Made a little sauce with roasted garlic, thyme, shallot, and white wine, and tossed them in with pasta. It was delicious.

    I’m now a shelling bean convert. I’m going to buy a bunch more and start drying them, so I’m excited to have more recipes to go with them.

  • I absolutely LOVE fresh shelling beans. They are one of my favorite farmers market finds, and I eat them as often as I can when they are in season!

  • I placed a rancho gordo order recently and I think I will make up a batch today. YUM.

  • Thank you for a wonderful recipe for fresh shelling beans. Spring here so NZ bean time isn’t far away.

    I grew up being served grey beans – over cooked revolting runner beans or the frozen stuff ( and still overcooked). Am finally recovering from the “boil them till they’re dead” horror to appreciate really great fresh beans. Huge relief – Having Crohn’s disease thought they were a no-no – nope fresh and properly (briefly) cooked I can enjoy so many types now. Still loathe the runners.

    Looking forward to trying this recipe out soon (we are already getting nice beans from the warmer parts of Aussie) Thank you for wonderful bean inspiration – Have happy times eating yours,

    Michelle and Zebbycat downunder

  • Bravo David. And a big thank you. When I was growing up in the late 70′s and 80′s, my family raised berries to help supplement our limited income, (a small farm). Picking berries is very hard, hot work. Tending to raspberry, blackberry and other ‘thorned’ shrubs is also hard and sometimes painful work. As a working gardener, I really appreciate this thoughtful article leading up to your delicious recipe. More people are thinking about where there food comes from these days, and hopefully with the help of writers like yourself, more people will adjust their thinking about the value of the food they eat.
    With deep gratitude,
    Michaela

  • My gramps (who did all the cooking) used to call these “shellie” beans – or maybe that is just what I thought he said. (We are from the Southern US.) :) Love them – it took me back immediately.

  • Those beans are beautiful! I’ve never prepared beans like that… might have to try it tonight!

  • Fresh shell beans are great, a hearty counterpoint for summer’s bright flavors. One of the dishes that sticks in my memory was a simple shell bean preparation, with the perfect herb combination and ideal cooking time. And so, seeing the baskets at the farmers market, I’ve been cooking them myself. The most recent experiment was to cook them with bay, rosemary and thyme, add some chopped tomatoes in the last few minutes, and serve with rough-cut fresh pasta. Perhaps this weekend I’ll try your salad.

  • I actually use to dislike beans greatly until I tried them in a bean salad similar a few years ago. Now I can’t get enough of them. They are a healthy delight that can be made in so many different ways. Such a great recipe David. Thanks for sharing this. Glad you got away from the screaming massacre and can work in peace until someone lets something go bad.

    - Bill

  • hi david.i can’t remember if i worked at the chez before you or after you but i was in the saute position in the cafe for a year from ‘ 82-’ 83 and then went on to run zuni cafe for the next several years. i’ve been reading your posts for awhile now and wanted to thank you for sharing all of the fabulous recipes and stories. we served many dishes with shelling beans at zuni but i especially like a ragout of them as a bed for grilled sausage.
    and anything with toasted bread crumbs is certainly better. how about a new cookbook based on topping food with toasted bread crumbs? v. best, kathi

  • Yummy. Looks lovely. Would make a fantastic side all mashed, or a great dip for bread. Think of a little roasted garlic, topped with some parsley. Yummy

  • Eating fresh shelling beans was a literal revelation to me the first time I tried them. I found them at my local, excellent farmers market, and that I – WE – had been so completely ignorant of the stunning difference eating Fresh Vegetables makes, just really impacted me. Beans did that. And freshly picked beets, actually. Long ago, I made Borscht from beets that had been picked that morning and was simply blown away by the profound difference. So simple. Freshness needs so very little embellishment, which of course all Chez Panisse fans know. I think that they were organic probably made a big difference in flavor as well. Changed the way I shop, for sure.

  • Those beans are so pretty. I’m inspired by this one. Thanks!

  • My last chef before I left the restaurants was a “watcher,” as you put it, but usually only because he was so drunk he couldn’t handle a knife.

  • Yum! I love beans too! That fresh bean salad looks so delicious, thanks for a nice post David! And I agree with the not wasting precious food, especially when it comes from the farmer’s market or the garden.

  • I love the raspberry price discussion, I liken it to wine. My trepidation surrounds those who cannot grasp why wine costs so much. Or why a $40 is likely better then an $8 bottle. It’s a shame that more people don’t appreciate the craft that goes into things we experience every day.

    I really enjoyed your piece. All this talk about beans makes me miss my family in Turkey!

  • I love beans and work them into most of my meals. The simple preparations are always my favorite. Yours look just perfect!

  • I was probably the only kid on my block that was actually excited to eat dinner when Mom said we were having lima beans. I’ve always loved shell beans of any kind, I can’t imagine what’s happening in the kitchen when people almost boastfully say that they hate beans. I know that old dry beans can be not so good, but even fresh or flash frozen get the big ‘nix’ before they are even tasted.

    Regarding prices of organic foods, my daughter works at Whole Foods. When she was a cashier, the complaints and disrespectful remarks about the prices of the foods used to really get to her. One day she lost it and shot back..”Lady, I am only a cashier here. If I were the farmer and put all the effort and money that goes into producing a certified organic product, I’d charge more to the distributor, who’d have to charge the reseller more, who’d have to charge you even more than you are paying now. There’s a lot of risk and the supply is limited, so I’d say you got a deal.” No, she didn’t get fired, just moved to the bakery. That’s another story…

  • Erol & Susan: I went to an interesting discussion about eating locally, sustainably, etc…etc… and while we’ve all heard many of those points before, the speaker talked about something usually isn’t discussed. Too often the focus is on making the price of the food affordable, but the other side of the equation is “How do we pay the people that grow food a decent wage?”

    Sure everyone wants a 69 cent head of lettuce, and it’s fun to gripe about Whole Foods prices (and illegal immigrants), but on the other hand, how much does a basket of raspberries cost in terms of labor? Do we want to have our produce picked by people who aren’t treated decently? And lastly, with the alarming rate of food-borne illnesses in the food supply, what is the price we pay in food safety if we’re not willing to invest in our health and well-being?

    And Susan, my mother used to buy frozen lima beans and when she made roast beef, she’d cook them in the beef fat in the oven until the outsides were hyper-crispy, almost blackened, and the insides were creamy-smooth. Even people that said they hated lima beans would eat them by the handful.

    Kristin: I know I’m kind of a dork about this, but whenever I use berries, I always think about who picked them, since they’re impossible to be harvested by hand. (At least I think they are.) And I try never to waste any. Berries are frightfully expensive in Paris and it’s always a quandry if I want to pay €4 ($6) for a basket of of 18 raspberries. I think I need to move to a farm and grow my own!

  • Fabulous post David. I really like to add colour to any dish – makes it so much more appealing. Food that looks enticing somehow has a knack of tasting better too.

  • I am gonna plant some cranberry beans next year. The pic of your beans cooked up and plump made me drool. Literally. No lie.

    Back in the day when hubby and I toiled away in the restaurant biz the only thing that got my man’s blood a boilin’ was inattention – as in not rotating goodies in the walk in or letting food slip out to the table that were not perfection.

    A small note – there are several varieties of thornless raspberries. I grow one such in my yard. Now if only I could find a thornless backberry! I know one must exist.

    OK – godda go lie down. Just picked oh…100 or so pounds of plums… about half of the fruit. What to do… what to do. Sigh.

  • Oh, I love beans, too, and order them from Rancho Gordo! They are special. We are trying to eat more meatless meals and rely on beans a lot.

  • I grow a variety of raspberry named “Fall Gold.” They are golden yellow (birds don’t recogniize them as something to eat), ripen in spring and fall, and and are the sweetest raspberries ever. Still, they are something of a novelty. I can’t imagine that they could even be shipped as far as across town.
    Because this summer was a rainy one, the ever-bearing Tristar strawberries are still giving me a double handful per day. When I save up we can have strawberry shortcake every third day. I wish this bounty happened every year, but only cooler and rainier summers than normal make it possible.
    I love fresh beans, too. Lima beans also are completely different fresh than canned or frozen, but nobody seems to know that. It’s a shame, because limas are a bean everyone with even a small garden could grow.

  • Hi David,

    Talking about shelling beans makes me think of the stink beans (petai) that we used to shell as kids back in Penang. Their skin is like leather and they didn’t just pop out when squeezed. You usually need a knife to make slits and you also have to peel off the skins that cover each bean. So much work, but it was worth it. In the old days petai was picked from huge trees that grow in the jungle, so you can imagine how dangerous the work was. And yet the price was only marginally high and the average household could still afford it. Nowadays the beans are being cultivated.

    I’ve just started reading The Sweet Life, and savouring every page. The part about cooking du marche made me think how things have changed. Growing up, we took local produce for granted as most of it was bought fresh from the wet market nearby on a daily basis. Imported foods from temperate climates like oranges & apples, were considered luxury items! Ironic isn’t it?

  • I love the appearance of cranberry beans, the vivid fuchsia pink color just looks like someone took a marker and went completely crazy! Oh what a fun food!

  • Beans are often made into a light meal or a evening snack in southern India. We mix some sauteed onions, raw chopped mango, and grated coconut into the boiled beans.

    Visit this site for a simple recipe that can be adapted for a wide variety of beans. You can simply substitute the chickpeas (garbanzo) beans with your favourite bean:

    http://www.thayirsaadham.com/?p=372

  • Linda H: I love golden raspberries and while they’re impossible to get in Paris, we were in a small village about an hour away and stopped for lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant that looked promising (and it was!) They had big fruit display which included big, plump red and golden raspberries. When I asked where they got such beautiful berries, they told me that a neighboring farm grew them. They were delicious!

    Italian Dish: Those Rancho Gordo beans are amazing. It’s interesting that folks are worried about the price of food, but those are a wonderful, locally-produced product that doesn’t cost a lot (you can get 6-8 servings per bag), and are very good for you. I’ll cook them with an onion, some bacon chunks, and herbs. Last time I added some tomatoes and stewed them in there as well. So good!

    (There’s now a Rancho Gordo Cookbook which I’m hoping to pick up the next time I’m in the states, too.)

    joolian: Hope you’re enjoying the book. France has a wonderful tradition of shopping at the markets, and in spite of the fact that a good deal of the fruits and vegetables aren’t locally-grown (or even from France), if you shop carefully, you can find wonderful ingredients, like these beans!

  • Oh my god those fuschia streaked pods and purple speckled shell beans are so gorgeous. I just had to have some, so I got up from my computer, jumped in the car and drove right over to our field to check some mature green beans in the hopes…but no. The inside beans were starchy and flat tasting. Disappointment.

    I guess the only way of satisfying my craving for shell beans is to grow them. I keep buying shell bean seeds in France and Italy, but somehow they disappear into my husband’s dark seed hole. Where are my beans? I’ll have to be patient and wait until next spring to eat some of those brightly ambrosial beans. Certainly your method will be the one I use, perfect in its simplicity. If I find the seeds.

    Having lived 20+ years in Japan, the first time I touched cranberry shell beans was at Chez when I shadowed one night downstairs. Cristina Salas-Porras had set it up. This was during the reign of Chris Lee and Kelsie Kerr. At the afternoon cooks’ meeting we sat around a few pushed together tables and popped the beans (always a soothing and convivial occupation) as Chris led the collaborative discussion of how each dish would be prepared that night. What a revelation. The published menu was only “sort of” decided. Interesting.

    Regarding the question of the “true” price of vegetables grown with love and care on a small, responsible farm…there really is no price high enough. But it should be a hell of a lot higher than it is now. Small farm organics are dirt cheap for what you are getting. When you factor in preparing the land, buying (or saving) the seeds, planting, weeding, picking, packing or the time spent at farmers’ markets…no one is getting rich. But it’s not about the money. It’s about the life. And most of us wouldn’t trade that for a fatter pocketbook.

    OK, off the soap box I go.

  • Coucou David,

    I saw the word ‘hazelnut’ so I have a jumping off point. I am here in Paris as a jeune fille au pair. I was with the kids yesterday at Parc Monceau, and after stomping marrons for about 20 minutes, we moved to the fallen bearings of the next tree- hazelnuts! I collected- a decent amount. I would guess 300 grams? (With shell obviously). I was wondering if you had a recipe that would optimize the hazelnut in its limited amount.

    Also, I just found a website last night that provides a middle ground between small-organic farms and novice volunteers. I would love to get in on Vendange- albeit just one day, perhaps- so I think I may just check it out. Wwoof.org, I think some others here may appreciate it too.

    Mmm, I love Paris in Autumn. Then again, I come from Las Vegas and we don’t have so much what you would call ‘seasons’ there, so this is somewhat of a small miracle to me.

    Ok, bisous ciao!

    Kelly

    Ps- I was out of town last time you were at WH Smith, plans for a repeat?

    Thanks for the link & sorry you missed the event. Wwoof is a great concept and I was recently at a farm that had a lot of wwoof’ers. Of course, all farms are different, but the program is pretty interesting! -dl

  • I find it a slippery slope to make a case for food prices. On one hand, the amount of work involved growing food should be compensated fairly. On the other hand, everything comes at a price. Sometimes, prices cannot be explained through simple comparisons. For example, the amount of work involved to collect crude oil and process it into gasoline is a lot more complicated than what goes into processing bottled water. That doesn’t explain why bottled water costs more (by volume) than gasoline.

    The issue boils down to a value proposition. The farmers need to either convince consumers that the quality is worth the higher price or find alternative business strategies to lower costs. It is dangerous to forget that farming is still a business and like any other business, it requires keen business acumen for survival.

    I understand my opinion is controversial but these types of discussions feel like a guilt trip rather than an attempt to find real solutions.

  • This looks lovely. I am in love with fresh shelled beans. I’ve never come across fresh beans like this, around here (in Texas) we have a lot of purple hull, cream peas, and blackeyed peas though. Never liked them, until I ate them fresh. What a difference! Now I buy as many as I can handle fresh, and freeze them – they’re still better than dried. Those beans I can’t get fresh, however, I do buy from Rancho Gordo, it’s worth it!

  • David,
    I too love beans and fresh shelling beans are the best! A couple of weeks ago at a small Farmers Market in the Santa Cruz Mountains (Scotts Valley, CA) I found a vendor with fresh Gigantes (as they spelled it). Have never seen those fresh so bought a nice bag full.

    Cooked up in about 35 min in a bit of homemade chicken stock, added some diced fresh Early Girl tomatoes and of course, garlic, kosher salt and fresh black pepper – had all I could do to keep from eating them all up but my conscience kicked in so I left some for my dear husband… Have never seen fresh Gigandes (as I know them) before and wish I could find more of them!

    You mentioned the pressure cooker above, yes, I like to do dry beans in the pressure cooker. They freeze beautifully and are so much better than canned! Especially garbanzos – my all-time fave. I have a 5 qt and a 10 qt Fagor – they are great time savers – especially if you’re like me and decide at 5:00 pm to make osso buco or something like that! Plus as a life-long chicken soup maker, the product from the pressure cooker is the best.

    Thanks for the recipe above: I plan to make it today after a trip to my local FM – they should have cranberry beans and maybe some others…

  • Found some at the farmers market this morning, yippeee!

  • My mother sent me to your blog. She is the ultimate foodie – and has been for 80+ years. I can see what she sees in you. (She visits you every day – me, not yet.) Love the way you write and love the recipes I’ve perused so far.
    I’ll be back – there seems to be a lot I have left to learn from you!

  • We call this kind of salad as “sundal” in India. With a simple tempering with oil,mustard seeds and drid red chillies broken and grated rfesh coconut they taste divine. Try them with coconut next time. I bet u’ll love it.

  • Great salad – I think these beans (especially their pods) are so pretty!

  • So is there a certain type of scream reserved for people like me who decide they can’t stand to harvest one more thing and then let nature reclaim the loaded down bushes of red raspberries?

    The beans look fabulous. I would eat every single bite…and then ask for more.

  • As you suggested, a bit of hazelnut oil and sea salt and I’d be screaming for these as well. Never has a photo made beans look more divine.

  • I have been missing out on my beans, I’m not going to lie!

    This seems like the perfect way to do beans in a new way. I never thought of herbs like basil for beans at all. I’m going to try this right away. Since I’m vegetarian I think that this will go over well in my household. Only thing left to do is pick the wine to go with it.

    There’s a site I use quite a bit called Pardon My Vine (http://pardonmyvine.com) and the guy that does the reviews is very knowledgeable. I actually didn’t know much about wine until I started watching Chris. He has quite the straightforward way of explaining things…

    Anyhow, thanks for the post. I’m going to ask my neighbor for some of her beans – she always grows more variety than I do!

    Thanks,
    Marv

  • I can’t wait to try this one! Thanks for sharing the recipe! My mom will surely love this since she likes beans and she is trying to be a vegan.=)

  • I love this post – I love beans and eat them often, but had run out of imaginative ways to use them in their freshest incarnation. I have to say though, that I am now mostly obsessed with the idea of the lima beans cooked along with a roast and getting crisp. The first day it’s cool enough here, I’m all over that.

  • Bonjour,
    Hum…incroyable tous ces commentaires pour…des haricots ! C’est génial, great ! Vive votre blog ! These beans…sont toute mon enfance sur les marchés corses… they are beautiful, inside as outside, just like a perfect world….We love them ! Thanks David.

  • I often say if diners knew what it took to grow a succulent peach or sunripe heirloom tomato they would neither squeeze them nor balk at paying a premium price for the little treasures. In the realm of letting food go to waste, most gardeners are guilty and I am no exception. Some plants produce faster than I can pick. By the way, know of any recipes for zucchinis the size of scuba tanks?

  • Mr. D–you are an American living in Europe who is into food (I realize that is a bit of an understatement), so please tell me, have I missed something? Since when is it acceptable to show appreciation for food by eating like a pig? I know I have lived out of the country for years, but I do not remember such behaviour as the norm when I lived there.
    I just saw “Julie & Julia” and was horrified at Julie’s husband’s table manners. In every scene which involves him eating, he stuffs food into his mouth (or somewhere near his mouth), and grunts like a animal in apparent appreciation of her efforts. Yuck! What is that about?

  • The other reason beans are expensive is because the yield is so low. Or maybe I am a bad gardener. But I planted one package of fava beans and got about once cup of beans before the plants blighted.

    Tom, big zucchini make really good chocolate chocolate-chip zucchini bread and some people (my husband) think a slice of it counts as a serving of vegetables, much in the same way a handful of potato chips is a serving of veg.

  • Love your comment about how if you had picked the berries how much would you want to be paid for them – Charmian Christie’s blog had a discussion about the cost of local produce earlier in the week and that comment should have been made there.

    http://christie-corner.blogspot.com/2009/09/reader-question-cost-of-eating-local.html

    Lovely pics today by the way!

  • Thanks for sharing the recipe. It seems easy to prepare and as the picture shows, it looks delightful.

  • Borlotti beans are beautiful, they become that nice mottled colour as they start to dry. I grow the variety “Lamon” available from “Seeds Of Italy”. Although I would advise careful cooking, it is important that they are properly cooked even if they are freshly shelled. They are also the main ingredient in Pasta e Fagioli, one of my favourite dishes.

    Those Tomatoes look wonderful, far better than the uniformly shaped and coloured rubbish you find in supermarkets.

  • For all you mothers and aunts like me, here’s a secret – the ONLY way we keep my little nephews ( hyperactive-can’t sit still a moment 4 & 2 year olds) and an extremely talkative – like 7 questions a minute 21/2 year old niece is to get them to shell – beans, peas… they just love it… I swear they go on for at least 2 hours without a whimper! Try it! :)