Let Me Introduce to You: The Dragon Tongue Bean

With a name like Dragon Tongue, what is there not to like?  Dragon Tongue beans, also known as dragon langerie beans, are an open-pollinated heirloom French bean with a creamy white flesh and violet purple striped, fiery, variegations.  With a slightly racy appearance, if I do say so, this exotic and seductive looking bean is one of four snap bean varieties grown at Aspen Moon Farm.

Hailing from the Netherlands, the Dragon Tongue bean was first cultivated in the 18th century with its’ original cultivar never having been manipulated.  The Dragon Tongue bean is, on average, a six-inch long, wax type bush bean that arguably is the best multipurpose bean available.  It is fantastically suited as a fresh snap bean, but also works well as a shelled bean when fully mature.  One word of wisdom is that the bean turns solid white upon cooking.  That being said, the flavor of this flat “romano” type bean is exceptionally rich and complex when the bean is cooked, providing an almost nutty and meaty texture.  Less fibrous than other snap beans, the Dragon Tongue bean is delightful both eaten raw and cooked.

While the Dragon Tongue beans are phenomenal blanched and then sautéed with pancetta, they were unparalleled in flavor in the summer bean salad that I made last night for dinner.  The beans were blanched , and along with slivered red torpedo onions and julienned Carmen peppers, tossed in a mustard vinaigrette and served chilled.  The perfect accompaniment to a dinner from the grill.  Or, if neither of these ideas suits your fancy, try this:

Spicy Pickled Green Beans

–          1 – 1 1/2 pounds of green beans, left whole, stems trimmed off

–          1 jalapeno pepper, quartered and seeded

–          2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly –

–          a few sprigs of fresh dill

–          2 cups of distilled white vinegar

–          1 cup of water

–          1 tablespoon of sugar

–          2 teaspoons of kosher salt

–          1 teaspoon of mustard seeds (black or yellow)

1. Properly sterilize a 1-quart mason jar (I boil mine for about 5-10 minutes in a large pot).

2. Once you have sterilized your jar, pack it with the green beans, dill, peppers, and garlic – everything should fit snugly.

3. Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot over medium heat. Boil for several minutes before pouring the mixture over the green beans. (I increased the amount of water and vinegar in the recipe as the original amount didn’t quite cover my green beans.)

4. Place the jar in the refrigerator, allowing the flavors to meld for a few days before opening (Vanessa recommends three, but we ate ours after two).

Also included in this week’s CSA share (varies depending on pick-up location):

– Arugula or spicy greens mix

– Amarant cabbage or fennel or kale

– Basil or summer squash

– Snap beans

– Carrots or beets

– New potatoes

– Tomatoes

– Celery


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