Yellow Beans with a Chipotle Dressing

When you start looking around, it turns out that there are surprisingly few recipes for yellow beans out there.

Now, I suppose you can do all the same things to yellow beans that you might do to green beans, but if you went out nosing around just to see what was out there in the literature, so to speak, for yellow beans, if you, say, had some in your fridge as I did this week, you would find a multitude of recipes for sugary homemade versions of that nasty three-bean salad (all three beans from cans – can it legitimately be called a salad if everything comes from a can?) that I ate so much of as a teenaged vegetarian fifteen years ago because the fact that it had the occasional forlorn kidney bean included meant it was the only thing on the salad bar that had any vegetable protein to offer whatsoever.

And you would not want to recreate that palate-scarring experience at home, would you?

No, you would not.

This was a dinnertime improvisation, a little side dish to perk things up. It is, I think I can say fairly, quite perky with a whole chipotle in it.

Michelle, at K.M.K. Farms, whom I visit with at the farmer’s market on Saturdays, grows these beautiful red torpedo onions, which are perfect to go into a green bean salad, as they can be cut as long and slender as the beans themselves. I’ve also recently used them in a batch of curtido, and they were wonderful with the long shreds of cabbage as well. I keep meaning to use them in a gratin, perhaps with some zucchini also cut lengthwise, but I just haven’t had the will to turn on the oven.

But back to the beans…and some cilantro, and a little cumin and lemon juice and olive oil, and there you are.

4 c. yellow beans, stem ends snapped off
1 torpedo onion, slivered, divided (half will go in the salad, the other half in the dressing)
1/2 c. cilantro
2 T. olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
1 chipotle chili
1/4 t. cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Steam or boil the beans using well-salted water for six minutes. Place the onions in a colander. When the beans are finished cooking, pour the hot water from the pot over the onions. Drop the drained beans into a bowl of ice water to cool for a moment, then drain and pop in the freezer to cool further.

In the work bowl of a small food processor, combine half the onion, the cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice chipotle chile and cumin. Buzz until combined – add a small amount of water (a tablespoon or so) if necessary to get the mixture going. Remove the beans from the freezer. Pour the dressing over, toss gently until thoroughly mixed and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes four servings.

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