In Farm Markets Now: Cranberry Beans

By Jo Cooper

A seasonal delight you won’t want to miss: cranberry beans, with their burgundy and white shells.  I spotted them at my farmer’s market on Saturday, and rhapsodized over their appearance all day before cooking them that evening.  Flat out gorgeous!

I was inspired to create a combination of fresh green beans and cranberry beans by David Tanis in this delightful episode of Alice Water’s In the Green Kitchen video series, each of which features a simple standout dish.  David spends half the year in Berkeley as head chef at Chez Panisse and the other half in Paris.  Oooh, nice!  I love watching him in this video, serenely topping and tailing green beans, the very essence of relaxed mindfulness.

Alas, the cranberry beans turn grayish in cooking, but I still found the final dish a pretty picture.  And my friends, the taste!  One of those deeply satisfying kinds.

Method: cook the cranberry beans in the shell in boiling, lightly salted water for 20 minutes.  During the last 4 minutes, throw in the green beens, which have been topped and tailed and cut into reasonably bite-sized lengths.  Drain everything.  Shell the cranberry beans and toss them all on a platter (the better to admire), sprinkle with a little high quality olive oil and some sea salt– I used some fleur de sel.  Just a little.  Sheer delight with corn and sweet potatoes fresh from the farm market!

Learn more about cranberry beans on this nice site called The Heart of New England, which has lots of nice food ideas.