Aren't they beautiful? They're called Jacob's cattle beans and they've got a great flavor, too. Beans are among those things that most people have never tasted properly. The overwhelming majority of people eat their beans out of a can. Then there are those who actually take the trouble to cook dried beans. Finally, there's that tiny minority that cooks fresh beans in season or that dries their own beans. I'm not going to claim that we're part of that last group, but we've done a pretty good job this summer of taking advantage of the fresh legumes at Jean Talon Market as they've come in season.
Case in point: the Jacob's cattle beans that Michelle picked up on Saturday and that I used to make a Mediterranean French bean salad. I shelled the beans and then simmered them in a light broth (carrots and garlic, mostly) for about 30 minutes. I thought they'd take about 10-15 minutes (these were fresh beans, after all), but they were still a bit tough at that point, so I gave them another 10-15 and they became nice and tender. I then placed them in a bowl and marinated them with some minced red onion, some garlic, some tomatoes, some basil leaves cut into strips, and a vinaigrette made with sherry vinegar. I gave them about 15-30 minutes so that the flavors would begin to mingle, then placed a healthy amount of the bean salad on top of a bed of arugula. For the crowning touch, I took a little high-quality tuna packed in olive oil, drained it, and placed in on top.
That's it. As our friend Chef Tell used to say: "Very simple, very easy." Delicious, too.