Shelling Beans and Herbs

Shelling Beans and Herbs

2 lbs. fresh shelling beans in pods
1 big sprig rosemary
1 small whole dried red chile (or red pepper flakes)
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Remove the beans from their shells.

Put the beans, rosemary, chile, bay leaf, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a large pot (the beans will expand so make sure there’s plenty of room). Add water to cover the beans by 1 inch.

Bring everything just barely to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat and adjust so that the beans are simmering, but not actually boiling. Cook uncovered until the beans are about halfway soft—they’ll be soft enough for you to easily bite them with no crunch, but they’ll still be quite dry and crumbly inside. This could take around 20-30 minutes.

At this point, add another heaping teaspoon of salt and a glug of olive oil. Keep cooking at a gentle simmer and check frequently—the closer you get to doneness, the more frequently you should check. You want to stop cooking the beans when they are very creamy and tender all the way through but not yet mushy or broken up (though a few will split).

When you are just about at that perfect point, move the pot off the heat and let the beans cool in their liquid. They’ll finish softening the last few degrees as they cool. (If you worry that you’ve gone a bit too far and the beans risk getting mushy, as soon as you take them from the heat, transfer them from the pot to a bowl set into some ice water and stir gently to cool things down quickly.)

Once the beans are starting to cool, taste and add more salt if needed, and add another nice glug of olive oil, then let cool.

Add beans to pasta or a salad (especially a simple tomato salad).