Last month we split half a pig with a friend. When putting in the cut order we asked for the chops to be cut as thick as possible and some rather thick chops duly showed up. I finally got around to defrosting some earlier this week. I dry-brined them for a couple of days while I figured out what to serve them with. In the pantry were a packet of Rancho Gordo flageolet beans. I’d never cooked flageolets before and didn’t remember purchasing these. But I decided to give them a go anyway.
I cooked them very simply with a few small parmesan rinds (and salt added at the end). I drained some on Wednesday and tossed them simply with a dressing of garlic, kosher salt, pepper, olive oil and the last of some lemon-infused white balsamic vinegar. I let the beans sit in the dressing while the pork chops came up to room temperature and got grilled. Once the pork had rested, I sliced it thin and served it atop the warm beans. It was dynamite.
The next evening I had some of the beans in the parmesan-flavoured pot liquor along with some buttered wheat toast for dinner. Also excellent. And last evening I went back to Wednesday’s plan, except this time instead of grilling pork chops, I poached a couple of fillets of mahi mahi in some of the remaining pot liquor and put them atop another bed of warm flageolets—the dressing this time had a lot more garlic and used Rancho Gordo’s pineapple vinegar in place of the lemon vinegar. This was, I daresay, even better.
After having cooked beans in some stewed form or the other for my entire cooking life I feel like a whole new world of versatility just opened up to me. (Those of you who’ve always eaten beans this way should stop rolling your eyes—it’s not seemly). Make one pot of beans and you’re set for a few different meals with different dressings and meat/fish/veg to serve atop or alongside them. I still have enough left for another meal for two. I’m thinking that for the last iteration I’ll mash some anchovies and capers into the dressing as well. Maybe saute some shrimp to go with.
Anyway, here’s the very basic roadmap.
- 1 lb Rancho Gordo flageolets
- 2-3 small parmesan rinds
- Rinse the beans, cover with 2-3 inches of water and bring to a boil in your preferred bean pot. Hold it at a rolling boil for 10-15 minutes, lower to a simmer, cover and cook till done (replenish water as you go so there’s always at least an inch over the beans . I kid you not, it took just a bit over 1 hour from start to finish with the beans.
- When the beans are almost done, salt and simmer till the beans yield easily to the tooth but still hold their shape.
- Drain as much of the beans as you plan to use and set aside while you prepare the dressing. (Make sure you save the pot liquor.)
- Toss with the dressing and let it sit for at least 30-60 minutes to infuse.
- Top or mix with meat/fish/or veg of choice and serve.
This is going to be vague. How much dressing you make depends on how much of the beans you want to use at a sitting. Proportions too are pretty much up to you (as you can tell from the pictures, I used a lot more dressing the second time than the first and preferred it that way).
- Pound a clove or two (depending on size) of garlic with kosher salt and black peppercorns. Whisk the mash with olive oil and a bright acidic vinegar of choice. I would pass on dark balsamic or sherry vinegar.
- The above but with lemon juice instead of vinegar.
- The above but mash in some anchovies and more lightly some capers. (Use less salt if you go this route.)
- Some version of the above but with some yuzu kosho (affiliate link) added for extra salty and citrussy kick.
- Add herbs of choice: parsely, tarragon or sage would seem to be the natural choices.