October 23, 2007
I think I planted too many romano beans this year. I’ve already confessed to how terrible I am at thinning, and that definitely came into play with these guys. The seedlings kept sprouting up and looking so vigorous and healthy that, rather than tug every other one out, I’d just add another string and let it climb. All summer long, I’d harvest a good bowl-ful every day; my entire crisper drawer was constantly filled.
Yesterday, I picked the last bunch and felt a nostalgic pang for the bonanza that was no more. I was all excited about cooking the braised dish in the Zuni Cookbook (I love the idea of braising last-of-the-summer veggies . . . it’s like summer and fall colliding) until I calculated the timing and realized I didn’t have three hours to do so.
So I improvised.
I sizzled some garlic over medium-high heat and gilded the beans with it, then added chopped tomato and a splash of wine, lowered the heat and simmered until they were melt in your mouth tender.
For those of you not familiar with romano beans, they’re meaty little beasts (actually, they’re quite BIG). The Zuni braise is my go-to recipe for romanos, but after asking many of you (thanks to my CLBB buddies!) what to do with my surfeit this summer, I found out that they also cook up tender quite quickly. So I expanded my horizons and used them successfully in a delicious curry, and even steamed them, sliced them, and mixed them up with a garlicky vinaigrette and some arugula. Yum.
I wish I could tell you more about these impressive pods but, alas, I’m at a loss. I’ve spent the better part of the summer (and much of today) searching for information and recipes and, aside from a little help from my friends, have found virtually nothing. So by all means, chime in if you have something to share!