In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring fresh, local beans

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s featuring fresh, local beans

Fresh beans will convert almost anyone to a bean fan. If you’re used to only canned green beans, and especially if you do not care for them, we hope you take advantage of the local bean season and give them a whirl. Fresh beans taste nothing like canned. The fresher they are, the sweeter and crisp they’ll be.

 Stir-fry Beans

A woman at one of my favorite Asian restaurants gave me the secret to stir-fries: always par-boil the vegetables first and to help them absorb the flavors, use a high heat to sauté. This helps the sauces absorb. I love fresh beans best when left unadulterated, so just a little bean sauce in this stir-fry is all you need. This bean stir-fry goes great with chicken or fish or anything! Serves 4 as a side or topping.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Blue Lake, stem end trimmed and discarded, then cut on the diagonal into 2” pieces
  • 2 TBL  Fermented Black Bean Sauce
  • 1/2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove and place in an ice bath. When completely cool, drain and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Stir in bean sauce and then add in the drained, cooled beans. Work the mixture until beans are heated through and well coated with the black bean sauce. Season with salt & pepper, remove from heat and serve.

Yellow Beans, English Peas, Radish and Dill Salad

Yellow Beans, English Peas, Radish and Dill Salad

Let your creative juices flow with this salad from Eating Club Vancouver. Use their step-by-step pictures and suggestions for creating a dish that’s all your own.

Doesn’t it look delicious and fresh!

Click here for the pictures and ingredients!


Green Beans for Baby

Making food at home for baby is simpler than you think. It’s healthier, too, since you have control over what you put in the food and into baby’s mouth. All you need for this simple puree is beans and water.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh Blue Lake Beans, washed and ends removed
  • Water for boiling
  • Plus ½ cup water for blending

Place green beans in steamer basket over a pot of boiling water. Steam beans for 7-8 minutes or until tender. Remove cooked beans from steamer and put in food processor. Blend, adding water a bit at a time, until mix is completely smooth.

Once cooled, distribute mixture into baby food containers and place in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to use it.

Roasted Italian Beans

Roasted Italian Beans, recipe adapted from Cookography.

While I am a firm believer in simply blanching vegetables before they’re cooked, Italian beans are an exception. The longer they cook, the more creamy and velvety they become. I simply love Italian beans! Recipe adapted from Cookography.com.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Italian beans, stem ends trimmed, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Set oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, toss the beans, garlic and salt with the olive oil.
  3. Spread the beans onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Make sure they are evenly distributed in a single layer.
  4. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, or until the beans are tender and browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Sautéed Italian Beans with Creamer Potatoes and Pearl Onions

Again, I like to cook Italian beans longer than a par-boil because this is such a creamy bean. This hearty side goes well with grilled tri-tip or a ribeye. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Italian beans, stem end trimmed and discarded, cut into 1.5” pieces
  • 1/2 lb. creamer potatoes, halved, quartered
  • 10 pearl onions, peeled
  • 2 TBL Parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil
  • 1/2 TBL Butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook about 5-7 minutes, or until very, very tender.  Scoop out beans, leaving the water behind, and set aside. No ice bath needed.

Add potatoes and onions to the boiling water to cook until potatoes pierce easily with a fork. Drain and set aside.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan. Add in the cooked potatoes and onions, season with salt and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes, and then add in the beans. Cook about 3-5 minutes until dish is heated through. Season with salt and pepper, serve.

Chicken Salad Piccata

This recipe from Rachael Ray is satisfying as an entree or a side. It’s also great when cold, so you can take the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 pound green beans, halved crosswise
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped capers (drained)
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Grated peel and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Two 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, lightly pounded
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Click here for the recipe.

Four-Bean Salad

This summer cookout classic really comes alive with so many fresh ingredients. Adapted from a Home On The Range recipe printed in the Daily Herald-Tribune.

  • 1 (14 oz) can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 lb. fresh yellow wax beans, ends removed and cut into 2” pieces
  • 1/2 lb. fresh blue lake beans, ends removed and cut into 2” pieces
  • 1/2 lb. fresh Italian beans
  • 1 large bell pepper, any color, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into rings
  • 1/3 cup apple cider or white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar (can substitute 2-3 TBL honey, or to taste, if desired)
  • 1/3 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Plunge blue lake beans into the boiling water and cook until bright green and tender (three to four minutes). Scoop out the beans using a slotted spoon or skimmer. Immediately cool the beans in an ice bath or under cool running after to stop the cooking process. Repeat with the Italian beans and then with the Yellow Wax beans. Drain from the ice bath once all are cooled.

In a large bowl combine the cooled beans, kidney beans, bell pepper and onion.

In a medium bowl, combine half a cup each of white vinegar, sugar/honey, oil and celery seed. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Pour over the beans and mix well, cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, stirring once in a while. Keeps in the fridge for about 4 days.

 

Fresh Beans with Bell Pepper and Shallots

You can use Blue Lake Beans or Yellow Wax beans for this dish. Yellow Wax beans and with orange bell peppers makes a beautiful color contrast. Serves about 6.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh beans, Yellow Wax or Blue Lake Beans, cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1/4 cup diced bell pepper, any color (can use roasted bell peppers if desired, for a smoky flavor)
  • Half of one shallot, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the beans to par boil/blanch for about 4-5 minutes.

Remove beans from boiling water and dunk them in an ice bath to cool immediately.

Drain from ice bath when completely cooled, set aside.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add smashed garlic clove and heat for 2 minutes, being careful not to let it burn. Remove the garlic and add in the bell peppers and shallots. Work the peppers and shallots in the pan for about 3 minutes. Add in the beans and cook until warmed through, about 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, serve.

Summertime Minestrone with Cranberry Beans

Cranberry Beans

Linda, a Sigona’s Preferred Customer, made this recipe after Carmelo helped her find a key ingredient in our store: cranberry beans! Linda did some research and discovered cranberry beans are the equivalent to Borlotti in Italy. Shell beans take little time to cook and add a great texture to any soup or stew. They thicken dishes in 20 minutes and add a great amount of protein as compared to dried or canned beans.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh cranberry beans, (shelled about 2 cups)
  • 3 tbsp Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 TBL fresh)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and add the onion, carrot and pancetta. Cook, stirring, until vegetables soften, about 3 minutes. Add the shelled beans, thyme and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add chard and pepper with a good pinch of salt, cover again and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until beans are done (squeeze to test). Turn off heat and add basil; let soup sit for 5-10 minutes. Salt to taste, ladle into bowls.

A nice touch is to drizzle with a very good olive oil and sprinkle with grated parmesan.

Pasta Fagioli with Cranberry Beans

This simple peasant dish uses minimal ingredients, but is certainly a traditional comfort food amongst Italians and Sicilians alike. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. fresh pasta
  • 1/2 lb. Cranberry beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, or to taste, chopped
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Italian
  • Salt & Pepper

Remove cranberry beans from their pods. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add beans, cook about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water, drain pasta and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add in drained beans and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Pour in about a 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and bring to a low boil to let the water reduce a bit. It will thicken.

Stir in the cooked pasta, add more reserved pasta water if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat, stir in cheese and serve.

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