Have you ever been asked to cook something that’s, you know, tasty but also has to hit a bunch of other criteria? Perhaps the dish needs to be vegetarian or you need to consider someone’s allergies. That’s how this dish was born, many a restaurant’s dinner service ago. I was asked to prepare someone’s favourite ingredients — beans and greens — but I didn’t want to mess with anything agonizingly deconstructed, swirled with strange smoky fogs. And definitely no wee and twee processed droplets. I just wanted to cook something delicious, nutritious, colourful — and fast. And here it is. This is a very quick dish to put together, but only if the beans are already blanched when you begin.
Without getting into the chemistry of beans and the arguments that surround the best way to cook them (and how to avoid the possibilities of a Blazing Saddles moment at the dinner table), I’m telling you to put them in a pot, cover them with cold water, salt the water to taste, put the pot on to boil, and stop boiling the beans when they are tender. That can be in as little as 10 minutes for some varietals, and over 60 minutes for others. But once the beans are tender, just drain them and keep them handy. They’ll hold for a couple of days in a covered container in the fridge, but don’t get too far ahead on them as they’ll pick up other nearby flavours. Fresh is always best.
Brad Long is a renowned Canadian chef and a pioneer in developing fresh, customized food programs that advocate ethical, local, organic, and sustainable practices from dirt to dish. His restaurant, Café Belong, is located at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, Ont. The Harvest Commission recently published his first book, Brad Long on Butter, which won Best Single Subject Cookbook in Canada at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.