Sunday, August 1, 2010

CRANBERRY BEAN AND HAM SALAD

There's been a lot going on lately in Eggplantville, both on and off the blog. But I'm back in the Intuitive Kitchen and ready to share photos and ideas. One of my farmers market hauls included cranberry beans, aka shell peas, which I'd never worked with before. They're the ones that look white in the photo above, although the shells actually have a mottled white and, yep, cranberry color to them. They look like this after you shell them.

I also had a ham on hand, intending to make a regional dish that's a staple at my friend Cindie's house:  new potatoes, green beans, and cottage ham. As much as I love the flavors of those ingredients together, I'd never actually made that dish, and I could tell from the other end of the phone line that Cindie was shaking her head in disbelief when I asked for her recipe, something so old school she would never have thought to write it down.
By the time I got around to making the dish, my green beans were gone, but what was left of my cranberry beans needed to be used. It was time to wing it, Intuitive Eggplant style.

I started with Cindie's instructions.

Step #1: Cover the ham with water and cook for 30 minutes. Remove ham so it will cool down and you can cut it up without burning yourself.

Step #2: Cindie said to add green beans to the ham water next and cook until al dente. Instead I added my cranberry beans. After all, what's not to love about the flavor marriage of beans and pork? Depending on how fresh your cranberry beans are, and how high your heat, they'll take 45-90 minutes per Joy of Cooking (my go-to source for reliable info on cooking specific varieties of beans). My cranberry beans took closer to 90 minutes, although I ended up getting them softer than I would have preferred for use in the salad I finally decided on.

Step #3: This was my own little detour, since I had more produce to use up. I roasted onions and yellow tomatoes with thyme.

Step #4: Cindie said to add new potatoes to the ham water, and since I had some of those to use as well, I went right along with her suggestion, using a few potato slices in my salad, and saving some cooked ones for later.

We had a thankful break in the weather that compelled me to turn off the air conditioning, open the windows, and turn on the oven. But as the day went on, I realized I was craving a salad, once again.

I let all the components cool to room temp, then assembled them for this hearty dinner salad, with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I meant to reach for the sherry vinegar instead, but this dish didn't turn out half bad. And I have plenty of leftovers to mix and match in the Eggy test kitchen at a later date.
With thanks to those of you wondering about me being a no-show at the high school reunion, I'm just fine. But high school was a long time ago :).

 

14 comments:

Grumpy Granny said...

That looks totally yummy. I hope to get to our farmers' market tomorrow, since I'm off. Also, what kind of camera do you use to take the photos of your food?

Curious,
GG

Heff said...

Not a big fan of HAM, but the pics look good !

Making Space said...

That salad looks insane!!! I want! I want!

So then you'll be giving away ten thousand smackeroonies to Shammy or Granny soon? Hahahaha

Boxer said...

cranberry beans are beautiful! I've never heard of them. Not a big fan of ham either (vegetarian) but I did like the idea of a regional summer sald.

LaDivaCucina said...

Someone is learning photoshop!!!!!! haha!

It's so funny, I just saw cranberry beans in the green grocer in Michigan. When I saw your post on FB, I was thinking Ham and Cranberries and potatoes and beans? Ewwwww! I'm relieved it was cranberry beans! haha! Funneee! It looks delightful and I love those flavor combos. Funny enough I made a broth with white cannelinni beans, escarole, garlic and left over pork tenderloin with roma tomatoes and ate it over pasta. We like the hearty dishes, even as a salad! Yummy.

intuitive eggplant said...

Sorry to those who don't do ham, but glad you liked the pics.

GG, I just have a little point-and-shoot Nikon Coolix, but it does have a macro setting for food, which helps with the close-ups. I also usually take about a bazillion photos, many of which turn out blurry, then winnow down to the ones I consider blog-worthy.

Boxer, I believe cranberry beans are a lot like cranberry beans and can also be used like white beans.

Diva, I love the combination of cannelini beans, escarole (or chard), and garlic. Pairing them with the pork tenderloin sounds delicious!

Big Shamu said...

Eggy/Tony, my what beautiful long hair you have? Man that is a fine looking hunk of meat you have there. Now tell me again how long your beans took to cook? You must not have had the special Tom Colicchio beans that soak and cook in less than 45 minutes.

(get yourself a tripod and you'll cut way down on the blurry photos)

intuitive eggplant said...

Silly ole Eggy. I had completely forgotten that at the last minute I'd added those silly photos I snagged from Ruth Bourdain. If you're not following him/her on the Ru-Bo blog, twitter, or facebook, you should. Guaranteed to make you smile, or spit your coffee onto the monitor at the hilarity:)

Pam said...

This all looks great and I bet it is delicious! I will be looking for the cranberry beans. I'm new here and looking forward to future posts! Way to go with the reunion!

intuitive eggplant said...

Pam, welcome! I can tell we have some midwestern geography and food predilections in common. Your latest post is making me crave stuffed peppers - a great way to use summer produce in all sorts of combinations, with or without meat. Thanks!

Jen said...

Love that pic.

Lazaro Cooks! said...

What a great looking ham. Love that salad!

Courtney said...

Very interesting. I'll have to keep my eye out at the farmer's market for cranberry beans. Never used them before!

WaterDog said...

I hate to be the one to comment on this, but if those were HS pictures they did not come out of the yearbook as I edited it. College maybe. Green beans, potatoes and cottage ham are a staple in this part of Ohio and many times you have them with fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, and cottage chesse-a wonderful combination. In fact we just pulled the last of our beans and that may be dinner - less the corn on Sunday. I have popped out on my dear Eggie as work & my husband ill health have over come my need to travel downtown in the summer. We shall see what fall RW brings! Thanks to all of you for keeping up with Eggies blog-It makes her very HAPPY.