It’s a good friend who knows what kind of gift you will appreciate. It was a good friend who recently gave me a bag of dried Rancho Gordo Christmas Lima beans.I had heard of Rancho Gordo before, and I seem to remember that around the holidays they sold a year-long bean subscription that I considered buying myself for my birthday. My friend’s gift inspired me to check their website for cooking tips, which, of course, led me to the online store. And they sell so many kinds of “glorious, old-fashioned heirloom beans” that I imagine I will be spending much more time there in the future. And ordering glorious beans galore. It’s a small indulgence, really.
The recipe suggestions for this chestnut-flavored bean ranged from curry to sauteed mushrooms to gorgonzola sauce. I liked the idea of the curry flavors and I planned to serve the curried beans with this jeweled rice–but once the beans were cooked they were so good that I couldn’t bear to adulterate the flavor. Instead I tossed a few cups of the beans with fresh herbs and a splash each of olive oil and good sherry vinegar. I cooked a pound of dried beans and used about half for this dish. Maybe I’ll feel ready to curry the other half later this week.Christmas Lima Bean Salad: Cover 1 lb. Christmas Lima beans generously with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer covered until completely tender. Start checking the beans after 45 minutes, and add 1 tsp. kosher salt when the beans are nearly tender. (Add a cup of water if necessary to keep the beans submerged.) When the beans are completely tender, turn off heat and taste a bean, adding more salt to taste if needed. Allow the beans to cool a bit in the cooking liquid. While the beans are still warm, drain them (save that cooking liquid for stock for a bean soup!) and toss with a good splash each of good olive oil and good sherry vinegar. Grate a garlic clove into the beans with a microplane, and add a few big handfuls of chopped chives and parsley. Toss again, taste and adjust flavors if necessary, and serve.