Late summer is butter bean season, when farmers haul coolers full of shelled and plastic-bagged beans to the market, and people across the region add them to simmering stewpots. As with green beans, the usual way to prepare butter beans here in cornbread country is to cook them until falling-apart tender, with a ham hock or a few slices of bacon for seasoning. But the Garden & Gun staff can name at least one good exception: the butter bean salad from Monza, a restaurant down the street from our Charleston offices that serves salads, pastas, and wood-fired pizzas. This simple salad is a lighter way to enjoy a seasonal treasure before it goes into the freezer for the rest of the year.
Food & Drink
Make This Now: Butter Bean Salad
Butter Bean Salad with Shrimp
photo: Margaret Houston
6 cups fresh butter beans
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tbsp. chili flakes
1/2 bunch thyme
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
20 fresh shrimp
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Place butter beans, salt, chili flakes, and thyme in a large pot, and cover with cold water. Make sure water covers the beans by at least 1 inch, and then bring to a boil over high heat. Continue cooking for 5-10 minutes, or until beans are tender. Then strain them through a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Discard thyme and cool the beans in the refrigerator.
Pour lemon juice into a bowl, and slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly to create an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper.
Next, place a large skillet over high heat. Once hot, add olive oil and swish it around the bottom of the pan. Place the shrimp in the pan one at a time, and season them with salt and black pepper. Once they have cooked on the first side for about 1 minute, flip them and let them finish cooking on the other side. This will take 30-60 seconds, depending on the size of the shrimp. Remove the pan from the heat.
Toss the butter beans with the celery, lemon vinaigrette, and more salt and pepper to taste. Add the dressed butter beans to the hot pan, and allow them to warm up. Stir to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of the pan, and then return the beans to the bowl with the shrimp. Garnish with parsley.
Recipe from Monza in Charleston, South Carolina
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