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Thursday, June 21, 2012


Yellow wax beans. Really? Until recently,  I'd only seen or eaten them mixed into those ubiquitous three bean salads that pop up at church or family potlucks. Canned cut yellow wax beans, canned cut green beans, and canned kidney beans tossed in a sugary sweet and sour dressing. I have nothing against three bean salads.  Trust me, I've eaten my share of them. I can still feel and hear the  uniformly cut bean batons squeak between my teeth.

I discovered fresh yellow wax beans at the farmers' market last weekend. I wasn't looking for them. Hardly. Hell, I didn't even know what  fresh yellow wax beans looked like. Were they  beans or  batons?  While rifling through stacked clusters of baby beets from Cleary Hill Farm,  I spotted a small basket of pale yellow beans. They were beautiful, delicate, and lovely.  "What are these?", I asked. "Yellow wax beans.", she said. Well, well, well. So, that's what they're supposed to look like. Go figure. I bagged a few handfuls.

Hungover Sunday Supper.

Ok, so Michael and I may have had a few too many mimosas  and greyhounds during our post church Sunday brunch. Why not?  They were fabulous, giddily twirling us both into  languid Sunday afternoon naps.

Eventually,  I threw together a very simple Sunday supper.

I tossed leftover jasmine rice with leftover diced caper-flecked pan seared chicken piccata.  After splashing the mixture with extra virgin olive oil, I spooned it into chilled radicchio cups, and set them aside.  I cranked a cast iron skillet over a high flame, drizzled it olive oil, and briefly sauteed the yellow wax beans with parsley, salt, and pepper until they were crisp tender, about 5 minutes.  I pulled the beans from the heat and added yellow pear tomatoes before tossing them in a light dijon vinaigrette (2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon minced shallot, 1/2 tablespoone dijon mustard, 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper).

I nestled the filled radicchio cups onto bibb lettuce leaves before tumbling the wax beans to the side with caperberries, split kalamata olives, slivered red bell pepper, and pear tomatoes.  Parsley, Red Aleu sea salt, and generous amounts of coarsely ground Tellicherry black peppercorns finished them off.

The velvety thin-skinned yellow beans had a softer bite than traditional green beans, gently snapping through the bright vinaigrette.  While the olives and caperberries provided a mildly tart bitterness, the floral heat from the cracked peppercorns added aromatic biting crunch.

Yellow wax beans.
Light. Clean. Refreshing.
Who knew?

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