Italian Butter Beans with Meyer Lemon and Tarragon

Large, starchy Italian butter beans are our choice for this versatile, year round salad.  If Italian butter beans beans aren’t available, use cannellini, white runner, or any large white bean instead.  Allow plenty of time and cook the beans gently, so they hold their shape when tossed with the vinaigrette. 

Serves 4 to 6  Makes about 4 cups

1½ cups Italian butter beans, about 9 ounces, sorted and soaked overnight
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
¼ large red onion, finely diced, about ½ cup
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
Pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Drain and rinse the beans.  Place them in a large saucepan with the water and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until they’re tender but still hold their shape, about 1½ hours. Make the vinaigrette and set aside.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil and drop in the onion for 30 seconds.  Drain and toss in a small bowl with the vinegar.

Drain the beans and toss them immediately with the onions, vinaigrette and a pinch or two of pepper.  Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally as the salad cools.  Just before serving, add the tarragon and parsley.

Meyer LemonVinaigrette

If Meyer lemons aren’t available, use regular lemons instead.

2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk everything but the oil together in a small bowl. Slowly pour in the oil, whisking until emulsified.

Makes about ½ cup

Pappardelle with Spring Vegetables and Lemon Cream

This lovely spring pasta celebrates green: asparagus, English peas, and fava beans are tossed with wide noodles and a rich lemon-infused cream.  We steep the cream with lemon rind to intensify the flavor.  If Meyer lemons are available, by all means use them here.  You can substitute spring onions or leeks for the shallots.  If you’re short on time, skip the peas and fava beans and simply go with the asparagus. A sprinkling of chive blossoms adds a beautiful touch.

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS:

2 lemons

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper

½ pound fava beans, shelled, about ¾ cup

½ pound asparagus, tough stem ends removed, cut in 2-inch pieces on the diagonal, about 1 cup

½ pound English peas, shelled, about ½ cup

1½ tablespoons olive oil

3 large shallots, sliced, about ½ cup

2 teaspoons minced garlic

¼ cup white wine

¾ pound fresh papparadelle

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/3 cup, plus more to serve at the table

Chive blossoms (optional)

 

Use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler to remove three wide strips of rind from one of the lemons.  Combine in a small saucepan with the cream and a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat, remove from the heat, and steep for 30 minutes.  Strain the cream.  

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt lightly.  

Use a zester to remove threads from the remaining lemon rind, keeping the threads as long as possible.  You should have about ¼ cup; place them in a small bowl.  Squeeze the juice of one half lemon; you should have about 1½ tablespoons.  Scoop enough hot water from the pot to cover the lemon threads and allow them to soak for 30 seconds.  Drain and set aside.  

Drop the fava beans into the pot and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  Scoop them out and rinse under cold water, then slip them out of their skins.  Drop in the asparagus and the peas separately, cooking them until just tender and still bright green:  allow 2 to 3 minutes for the asparagus and 1½ to 2 minutes for the peas.  Rinse them under cold water and drain well.   Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the shallots, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper.  Cook over medium heat until the shallots begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes; add the garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Add the wine and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and cook until the pan is nearly dry, about 3 minutes.  

Meanwhile, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes.  Just before you drain the pasta, scoop out ½ cup of the pasta cooking liquid, and add it to the sauté pan.  Drain the pasta in a colander.  Add the cream to the sauté pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the pasta, the vegetables, the lemon threads, the remaining lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper.  Gently toss everything together to coat with the sauce and cook for a minute or two to heat the vegetables thorough.  Remove from the heat, toss in the Parmesan, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with the chive blossoms, if using, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan.  

Tip:  If you don’t have a zester, peel wide strips of rind with a vegetable peeler and cut them into skinny strips.

Make ahead tips:  Shell the English peas and fava beans and steep the cream.  You can even blanch the fava beans and slip them out of their skins a few hours in advance.  

Vegetable Brochettes with Marinated Tofu

Vegetable Brochettes with Marinated Tofu
from Executive Chef Annie Somerville, Greens Restaurant

Certain vegetables are always good to include— mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, boiling onions, and green peppers—to provide contrasting colors and textures, but others can be included when in season. In summer try round of sweet corn, zucchini, eggplant, and new potatoes. In winter include winter squash, slices of yams or sweet potatoes, or fennel. Remember that you will need to marinate the tofu at least a day before making this dish. Use 10-inch-long wooden skewers; allow two brochettes per person for a main course.

For Vegetable Brochettes:

Makes eight 10-inch brochettes; serves four

Ingredients:
Brochette Marinade (see below)
16 medium mushrooms
1 green bell pepper, or pepper of any color, cut into squares orwedges
8 cherry tomatoes
16 boiling onions, parboiled and peeled
Choose two or three of the following:
Zucchini and yellow squash, cut into rounds
Sweet corn, cliced through the cob into ½ inch rounds
Winter squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
Small new potatoes, or potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes
Sweet potatoes, or yams, cut into rounds
Japanese eggplant, cut into ¼ inch rounds
Fennel, thickly sliced
16 to 24 ounces Marinated Tofu (see below), cut into 1-inch cubes
8 bay leaves
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare the brochette marinade and set aside.
  2. Clean and trim the vegetables. If boiling onions are not available, use 2 or 3 red or yellow onions, cut into wide wedges, the root ends left intact. Some of the vegetables need to be parboiled: 2 to 3 minutes for the corn; 6 to 8 minutes for the winter squash; 10 to 12 minutes for the potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes. Cook the vegetables until they are done but still firm enough not to fall off the skewers, keeping in mind that they will cook about 10 minutes over the coals. Toss the eggplant slices in oil.
  3. Gather all the vegetables and the tofu. Plan to place a mushroom on either end (they work well as an anchor for the rest of the vegetable); then skewer an assortment of vegetables and the tofu, including the bay leaves, to make a colorful, attractive brochette. Put the finished brochettes on a baking sheet, and brush them generously with the brochette marinade, turning them so that all sides are well coated.
  4. Grill the brochettes 6 to 8 inches over the coals, turning every few minutes to expose all the surfaces to the heat. When the vegetables are nicely browned and hot, after 5 to 10 mintues, depending on the heat of the fire, remove them to a serving platter. Brush them with extra marinade, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve.

For Brochette Marinade:

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon herbs: parsley, thyme, marjoram, finely chopped
¾ cup olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

Mix the vinegar with the garlic, mustard, and herbs. Whisk in the oil, and season with salt and pepper.

For Marinated Tofu:

Makes 2 ½ cups marinade (enough for 2 packages tofu)

Tofu, bland by nature, is given character with this strong marinade. Prepared in this fashion, the tofu is used in the Vegetable Brochettes. Use firm (Chinese-style) tofu, rather than the soft or regular tofu, because it can be easily handled without breaking.

Ingredients:

1 or 2 packages firm tofu, 14 to 18 ounces each
½ ounce dried wild mushrooms, porcini or shiitake
1 cup water
2 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ cup olive oil
½ cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
½ cup red wine
½ cup tamari soy sauce
4 cloves
½ teaspoon salt
Several twists black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut the tofu into slabs 1-inch thick—firm tofu often comes in pieces that size—and drain them: Set them on a bread board or the back of a baking sheet and raise one end; point the lower end toward the sink  to let the water drain off. Cover the tofu with another tray and weight it down with something heavy, such as a few cans of tomatoes. Let the tofu drain for about ½ hour. This will remove excess water and allow the marinade to penetrate without being diluted.
  2. While the tofu is draining, prepare the marinade. Simmer the mushrooms in the water for 15 minutes. Heat a small heavy skillet and toast the oregano or marjoram slowly until it is fragrant. Add the oregano and the remaining ingredients to the pot with the mushrooms, bring to a boil, and simmer slowly for a few minutes more.
  3. Remove the tofu from the draining board and arrange it in a single layer in a square or rectangular non-corrosive pan. Strain the marinade through a coffee filter or paper towel and pour it over the tofu. Cover with plastic or a lid and refrigerate at least one day, preferably longer.
  4. The tofu can marinate 4 to 5 days. The marinade can be boiled, strained, and reused, if the tofu was well drained.

Greens’ Black Bean Chili Recipe

Black Bean Chili
From The Greens Cookbook, page 109

Black Bean Chili has been served every day since Greens opened in 1979. It has a woodsy campfire quality and a complexity of tastes from the various smoked and roasted chilies. In addition to serving these beans as chili, we also use them as an ingredient in the Black Bean Endhiladas and the Black Bean Chilaquilas. It is worth making double the amount and freezing half to have it available to use in other recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups black turtle beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 chili negro or ancho chili, for chili powder, or 2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoon corn or peanut oil
  • 3 medium yellow onions, diced into ¼-inch squares
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ pound ripe or canned tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped; juice reserved
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chili
  • About 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Garnishes:

  • ½ to ¾ cup jack or cheddar cheese, grated
  • Green chilies: 2 poblano or Anaheim, roasted, peeled, and diced, or 2 ounces canned green chilies, rinsed well and diced
  • ½ cup crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 6 sprigs cilantro

Sort through the beans and remove any small stones. Rinse them well, cover them generously with water, and let them soak overnight. Next day, drain the beans, cover them with fresh water by a couple of inches, and bring them to a boil with the bay leaf. Lower the heat and let the beans simmer whie you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Heat a small heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, and when they begin to color, add the oregano leaves, shaking the pan frequently so the herbs don’t scorch. As soon as the fragrance is strong and robust, remove the pan from the heat and add the paprika and the cayenne. Give everything a quick stir; then remove from the pan – the paprika and the cayenne only need a few seconds to toast. Grind in a mortar or a spice mill to make a coarse powder.

Preheat the oven to 375F. To make the chili powder, put the dried chili in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes to dry it out. Cool it briefly; then remove the stem, seeds, and veins. Tear the pod into small pieces and grind it into a powder in a blender or spice mill.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, and saute the onions over medium heat until they soften. Add the garlic, salt, and ground herbs and chili powder, and cook another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juice, and about 1 teaspoon of the chipotle chili. Simmer everything together for 15 minutes; then add this mixture to the beans, and, if necessary, enough water tso the beans are covered by at least 1 inch. Continue cooking the beans slowly until they are soft, an hour or longer, or pressure cook them for 30 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. Keep an eye on the water level and add more, if needed, to keep the beans amply covered.

When the beans are cooked, taste them, and add more chipotle chili if desired. Season to
taste with the vinegar, additional salt if needed, and the chopped cilantro. Prepare the garnishes. If you are using fresh green chilies, roast them over a flame until they are evenly charred. Let them steam 10 minutes in a bowl covered with a dish; then scrape off the skins, discard the seeds, and dice.

Serve the chili ladled over a large spoonful of grated cheese, and garnish it with the crème fraiche or sour cream, the green chilies, and a sprig of fresh cilantro.

Though served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon, this chili is a great deal thicker than most soups – thick enough in fact to be served on a plate right alongside fritters or cornbread. It also, however, can be thinned considerably with stock, water, or tomato juice, to make a much thinner but still very flavorful black bean soup. When thinned to make a soup, it can be served as part of a meal rather than a meal in itself.

Makes 8 cups

Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese and Mint

Little green lentils are the key ingredient that make this classic salad such a hit. Unlike the lager lentils we use for soups and Indian dishes, the small green variety holds its shape when cooked. Toss the warm lentils right away with the Lemon Vinaigrette, so they absorb all the flavors. Serve with Simple Artichoke Salad and Spicy Tomato Jam for a trio of made-ahead appetizers. It’s also delicious with crumbled feta or ricotta salata cheese

Serves 4 to 6

1 1/2 cups small green lentils, about 11 ounces

6 cups cold water

1 bay leaf

1/2 medium red onion, finely diced, about 1/2 cup

Champagne vinegar

Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced about 1/2 cup

1/2 fennel bulb, finely diced, about 1/2 cup

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Salt and pepper

3 ounces creamy goat cheese, about 1/2 cup

Rinse the lentils and place them in a large saucepan with the water and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Drop in the onions for 20 seconds, drain and toss with 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar.

Make the vinaigrette.

Drain and toss the warm lentils in a large bowl with the vegetables and vinaigrette. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally as the salad cools. Add the mint and season with salt, pepper, and a splash of Champagne vinegar, if needed. Remove the bay leaf. Crumble the goat cheese over the salad and serve. 

Lemon Vinaigrette (makes about 1/2 cup)

1/2 tablespoon minced lemon zest

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk everything but the oil together in a small bowl. Slowly pour the oil in, whisking constantly until emulsified.

Roasted Butternut Squash Rounds with Sage Leaves

This simple fall side dish is a delightful alternative to roasted potatoes.  The deep orange rounds of squash caramelize as they roast in the oven, releasing their natural sweetness. It’s a perfect savory holiday side dish, quick and easy to prepare.

Serves 4 to 6  

Two 3-pound butternut squash with long necks

1 tablespoon Garlic Oil (see below)

10 to 15 sage leaves, chopped, about 2 tablespoons

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Cut the squash at the base of the neck, reserving the bulbous part with the seeds for another dish.  Remove the stem and skin of the neck and cut into ¾-inch thick rounds.  You should have about 12 slices. 

Lay the squash slices on a baking sheet.  Brush both sides of the slices with garlic oil and sprinkle with the sage and a little salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then use a spatula to loosen the rounds. Cook another 5 minutes, until the squash is tender and the color vibrant.  Serve warm.

Tip:  Be sure to select butternut with slender, long necks –you’ll be using the necks- and save the bulbs with the seeds for a soup or ragout.

Garlic Oil

Mince a few garlic clove, and cover with extra-virgin olive oil.  You can use it right away or let it steep for 30 minutes to create more intense garlic flavor.  We add 1 tablespoon minced garlic to every ½ cup oil, but it’s up to you — use as little or as much garlic as you like.  Strain out the garlic and store the oil in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.  

Recipe from Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville, Executive Chef, Greens Restaurant