Monday, June 20, 2011
So this is the order of events which led to today's recipe. I was checking in on my friend M's blog when I read this post. I thought to myself, "that looks good. I want to put that in my face." Then I thought that, although her recipe calls for the more exotic, and probably more delicious, Christmas lima bean (it's a real thing), I had a package of dried regular lima beans waiting to be used up in what I call my pantry, but what is really the two shelves above the sink. I left a comment saying I was going to make the dish, then went to the 'pantry' to dig out the beans and get them soaking.
All of which leads me to the hypothesis that past Andrea has a deep-seated, burning hatred for present Andrea. Because instead of a package of dried lima beans, I found a package of dried fava beans that past Andrea had bought on a whim, probably with malicious intent. See, because the thing is, you might already know that fresh fava beans are a project. They have to be shelled...twice. Each friggin one of those little beans has to be removed from its pod, and then the downy husk has to be taken off. I'll give past Andrea the benefit of the doubt here and say that she probably didn't realize that dried fava beans have been shucked, but not hulled. (Or hulled but not shucked? I actually have no idea what the difference is between those two words.) But the point is that the beans are out of their pod, but the fuzzy layer has been dried right along with the bean and needs to be removed. However, it's no longer a fuzzy layer, but a dried on, brittle, tear-your-fingers-up layer.
So the process is soak, shell, use. Except shelling took all of the season premier of The Bachelorette, and half of the 11:00 news. And that stupid fuzzy layer is tough, man! My fingers are still soar. So anyway, I'm not going to call this recipe Fava Beans with Caramelized Onions, Tomatoes and Sage because I don't really think it's worth using dried favas. If I were you, I'd go the lima route à la the original post, and actually M makes those Christmas limas sound pretty damn good if you want to search them out.
You'll notice that in her original post, M uses white wine to add flavor to the dish. She freely adds wine to a lot of dishes because she keeps two boxes of wine, one white and one red, on her counter especially for cooking. So when she needs it, she just fills up her measuring cup right from the tap, as it were. And you can mark my words that once I have a real kitchen, with counter space that can accommodate it, I'm going to do the exact same thing. For now, however, I had some red wine that needed using and no white. I think you can guess what I did.
Beans with Caramelized Onions, Tomatoes and Sage
Adopted from this recipe on this blog
1 package dried beans, soaked overnight and then cooked according to how you like to do it (M uses a pressure cooker, I just boil water)
Olive oil for the pan
2 medium vidalia onions, thinly sliced
About 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus extra for garnish
3 cloves garlic, passed through a press
1/2 cup red wine
Salt to taste
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
Parmesan cheese for serving (M also recommends feta, and she rightly points out that you really do need a saltier cheese to offset the earthiness of the dish)
Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and caramelize until they're how you want them. As you probably know, you can caramelize the heck out of onions if you really want to go for it by turning the heat way down and cooking them forever. Or you can keep the heat where it is and caramelize for about 20 minutes, which is what I did. Remove the onions from the skillet and set them aside.
In the same pan, heat a bit more oil, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add the shopped sage and fry until that is also fragrant, then add the wine and season with salt. When the liquid starts to bubble, add the tomatoes and cook until they start to fall apart and the liquid has reduced a bit.
Add the onions and gently stir in the beans. You'll notice from the photos that my beans fell apart quite a bit, but that was a function of over-cooking. Heat the mixture through, then serve with Parmesan cheese grated over the top and a few leaves of fresh sage.
Posted by Andrea at 2:42 PM