It’s a crazy jungle out there this month! In the best possible way.
In Toronto (zone 5/6-ish), July is the month of the first tomato, the 1000th zucchini, and an ongoing supply of green beans and peas. I’ll do a longer update next month when I get to show off the tomatoes, today… just a few quick words on this month’s stars: beans and peas.
I saved some Rancho Gordo beans a few years back, for the day that I’d have somewhere to plant them, and bought a few more varieties just in case those didn’t germinate. I ended up losing track of which beans were which, but the dragon tongues identified themselves. The beans are striking! Pale yellow pods with streaks of purple taste even better than they look. Juicy! Juicy was previously strictly reserved for the very best of tomatoes and ripe peaches, but here I am telling everyone about these juicy beans that I’m growing. I hear they make some pretty great shelling beans too!
The peas were a little less dramatic, but just as delicious, super cute, and on a mission to take over the world. That trellis that I bragged about last month ended up toppling over in a storm so I had to tie the pea mess to the fence. There were so many broken stems but they did alright. Sprang right back up!
So how do you cook them beans and peas? You don’t have to. We ate most of the peas raw, and those dragon tongues were pretty good snapped right off the bush. Once we had our raw fix, my mom enjoyed hers simply blanched in well-salted water and I had mine sautéed in garlic and butter, ever-so-lightly, and served with lentils, egg, and a mustard and tarragon dressing. The dragon tongues lose their purple streaks when cooked, but you can preserve some of the colour if you’re gentle. Remember they’re totally good to eat raw, I just went for a “warm salad” vibe, not a thoroughly cooked bean.
- 1 Tbsp. grainy mustard
- 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. chopped tarragon (sub. dill if you don't have tarragon or are not a fan)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 lb mixed young snap beans, snow peas, sugar snap peas, or shelling peas, trimmed (see note for prep tips)
- 2 cups cooked and seasoned puy lentils (sub. green or black lentils or whole grains)
- 1 hard boiled egg
- chopped tarragon, dill, and/or dill flowers
- salt and pepper
- Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
- In a large sauté pan or wok, melt the butter, then add chopped garlic and sautee for a minute, until fragrant.
- Add the beans and sauté, tossing, for a few minutes, just until they're warm and are just starting to soften.
- Serve on a bed of seasoned lentils (I used just salt and bay leaf in the cooking water), and grate the egg on top. Garnish with more tarragon, dill, and/or dill flowers. Drizzle with the the dressing and toss just before serving. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.
If using string beans, make sure to remove the strings before cooking. Many varieties (like the dragon tongue), don't have a string and can just be trimmed at the tip and ready to go. If using shelling peas, remove the peas from the pod and toss them in to the sauté pan at the end, just to coat in butter.