July 6, 2010 — Dinner



First harvest of green beans tonight.   These are bush beans, small and scraggly plants.  I had not noticed the beans, which clustered on the lower part of the plant, and needed to be prompted by Annie and Melissa to begin harvesting.   There were obviously two types of beans – one straighter and more narrow, and another curved in the shape of a crescent moon and more plump.  Upon investigation in Annie and Melissa’s garden book and its accompanying seed packets, I see that the straight ones are Habichuelas fagioli, or “Stingless Green Pod Bush Type,” and the curved ones are “Bean Contender” (apparently also known as “Buff Valentine,” a variety that the seed packet helpfully notes was introduced in 1949).   Consulting Alice Waters, I cut a tiny sliver from the bush end of each bean, and plunged them in to rapidly boiling salted water.  Tasted at 2:30, and removed at exactly 3:00 minutes.  Per Alice, I drained the beans in a colander, but did not rinse with cold water.  Instead, I tossed them with some fresh parsley and olive oil, no salt.   The result was the archetype of al dente.  No crunch, but both firm and yielding.   No strings at all on either variety, and no identifiable seed within.  The texture was most pleasing.  I tried to find and linger over a “green bean” flavor, but failed.  Pehaps too much parsley, or perhaps too subtle for my palette?  Would salt have brought out the flavor?

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