You take your beans and sear them in a hot, oily pan, and they steam and char at the same time, retaining lots of bean-taste. When they’re done, toss them in chopped garlic and salt.
This method is flexible to flavours that go around the world– ginger and garlic and soy sauce for a Chinese mood, mustard seeds and chilis for South Asian, add coconut milk for a Thai feeling.. you get the idea.
I’d been wondering about Runner Beans, those prolific stalwarts of the British summer veg patch. I’ve never managed to love them as deeply as I do green beans/ string beans/ French beans (as they are called here).
But I want to love them.
So I was so happy when at the car park at our nearest train station I saw a local man had set up this table. I was attracted to the tomatoes and the heavenly scent of the Sweet Pea flowers. So I rang the bell. And rang and rang it more and more furiously and eventually he emerged from the woods.
Everything was for sale for £1 a bag. I bought the tomatoes, the flowers (how could I resist?) and two bags of runner beans, which he’d generously and labouriously shred. He sells them pre-cut, he said, because he’s aware that many people have “poorly hands,” tender with arthritis, and the preparation of runner beans can hurt. That seemed to me a profound act of compassion.
I cooked them: this lot in coconut oil with chopped ginger and garlic:
This bunch in lard I’d rendered from a pig who’d had a happy life (that’s a story), then at the end added some tomatoes, garlic and red wine vinegar:
And this dish is closest to the original Penelope Casas recipe, just garlic, but finished with a little lemon.
I love the slight charcoal taste. I love the moreish, garlicky, salty savour. I love this recipe. Please make it yours as well.