Thursday, November 09, 2006

...and now the latest installment in our continuing series: Snazzing Up Unpopular Vegtables

I must confess, right up front, that I've not tried this recipe. But since it was relayed by my very gourmet sister, I can assume it's délicieux. I think you'll agree, just by reading the ingredients, that these modest foodstuffs will add up to A Taste Sensation.

So the unpopular vegetable in question? Lima beans. I know, I know. "Limas?" you say, skeptically. It's true. Frankly, it's not hard for me to believe they are the base of a scrummy vegetable dish, 'cause I'll eat them all day long with nothing more than butter and salt. But when I heard the following preparation, I imagined a new pinnacle of lima enjoyment.

Lima beans a la Trenholme

1 package good ole frozen lima beans
1 package turkey bacon (or real stuff/prosciutto if you want full fat flavor)
1 small white onion, finely chopped
parmegiano reggiano
1 lemon
coarse sea salt

As always, I'm going to guestimate amounts. This is the sort of dish you can throw together favoring whichever ingredients tickle your taste buds.

Boil the lima beans, or blanch them or whatever. I can't really imagine the down-home packaging of Birds Eye veggies calling for "blanching" anything, but I think that's sort of what you'll end up doing.


We interrupt our regularly-scheduled recipe to bring you a totally unrelated tangent...using the word "blanch" reminded me that the very same sister who offered up this recipe played Blanche in her high school production of Streetcar Named Desire. I just had a flashback of living in Iran, being 5, sitting on her bed and watching her bring the drama with a Stevie Nicks-style fringed shawl and a Southern accent like molasses. There was probably some nag champa burning and Joni Mitchell playing in the background for added ambiance and artistic mood. I don't think I ever saw the full production, but I gave the practice monologues 2 tiny thumbs up.....

OK I'm back. Thanks for indulging me there.

So you've blanched/boiled your beans, and then drained them of the water. Set them aside and fry up your bacon or bacon-like substance. Be sure to keep all the good greasy stuff in the bottom of the pan for the following ingredients. Once the bacon's done, remove and set aside. Sauté the onion in bacon grease and once it's lightly translucent, add your thyme and tarragon. I'm thinking maybe 1 tablespoon of each, though you'll have to taste it and see. And remember, with the thyme, you'll want to pick the little leaves from the stem. Don't be lazy and cut the whole sprig, or you'll be picking bits of twig from your teeth later. Same for the tarragon--pull the leaves from the stem for the best flavor and texture. Then chop 'em finely, but not so much as to create a juicy, minced mess. So you've added your herbs. Season with salt and pepper, then throw the lima beans in and crumble the bacon on top, stirring everything until it's mixed and warmed and coated in fried, fatty goodness. Remove and plate, then top with grated parmegiano reggiano and a few drizzles of lemon. C'est magnifique! Actually, I don't know that firsthand, but I feel pretty good throwing that out there. These are not your mother's lima beans. Enjoy!


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