Beans…they are very versatile…a really great side, or thickening agent. I really started to like them more and more since I started to fresh shuck these pods. That fresh they are not as delicate as I thought. And from dried, they reconstitute beautifully.
At home I find different uses for them. I like them mashed and made into a spread for vegetables or toasted baguette slices. I like them in soups as an added protein or sometimes as a thickener. Beans…also great simply as a side item to your dinner, lunch whatever you choose.
In Vietnamese cuisine we use a lot of beans in our desserts, I do not remember much use for them in savory items, well I take that back because we had mung beans in certain savory cakes as well as the infamous crispy Vietnamese crêpe. My mother filled this turmeric yellow crêpe with minced pork, shrimp, bean sprouts mung beans and sweated onions and scallions. When it came right out of the pan it was like magic, the sides were golden and crispy, the fresh vegetable and herb accoutrements were bright and abundant. And, of course I can’t forget about her homemade fish sauce, and really…her’s IS the best.
I eagerly awaited for that moment when the crisped omelette looking item fell onto my plate. Still steaming with glistened edges I usually ate that part first before I dug into the filled center.
Beans…needless to say I like them. When I was growing up in Chino California my El Salvadorian neighbors fed me refried beans when I would often get locked out of my house (I would always forget my keys), and as I got deeper into food and cooking I learned of their vast uses. Now, the bean the legume and sometimes the pod that they come in have become staples in my cooking ritual.
This recipe comes from one day staring at what was in front of me…A glass jar of cannelini beans and a small bunch of still dew soaked watercress. I find that this “sauce” that I made goes very very well with poultry, fish and even pork. I say “sauce” with much reserve because it is actually served cold like a relish. Although I used this as a sauce for my meats, it is also really incredible as a thickening agent in soups, also as a base for a soup especially for those vegetarians that need a nice soup base without the need of chicken stock or even vegetable stock.
Bean and Watercress Puree1 Can Cannelini Beans 1 C. Watercress 8 Mint Leaves 1 Medium size Clove of Garlic (I used about 2)
8-9 Leaves of Italian Parsley 1 Green Onion
1/4 of a Small Yellow Onion 1/2 Lemon
1/2 C. Olive Oil Salt to Taste
If you have a hand blender ( I used my Cuisinart Kitchen Wand) Pulse… add in more lemon juice and or H20 or Olive oil til you have reached a your desired consistency.
This is for you babe:
This puree is actually really delicious as a base for a vinaigrette. Dilute it with some kind of white wine vinegar (I suggest a white balsamic)…what the heck…heres a recipe.
(added on Oct. 28. 2010)
Watercress and Cannelini Bean Vin.1/4 C. of the Puree 1 T. White Balsamic Vin. 1 T Lemon Juice Pinch of Salt. 1/2 C. Olive Oil. *If you can use a really bright fresh pressed Olive Oil. *This is really great over a multitude of greens!