The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
My friend, Lorraine, gave me a recipe for Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson, which I immediately lost. Instead of calling her to get the recipe again, I decided to come up with my own version and I am so glad I did. If I hadn’t have, I wouldn’t have come to the conclusion that super large beans are super versatile.
Once the beans are cooked, you can use them as a base for any simple meal. Greeks use giant beans (gigantes) in many recipes and typically bake the cooked beans in a tomato-based sauce. You can also toss them with pesto or bruschetta for a delicious and nutritious gluten free alternative to pasta. Or simply warm a bowl of them, drizzle a little olive oil on top, and toss them with chopped garlic, lemon, and a grinding of salt and pepper for a lovely lunch or side dish. (I had this for lunch yesterday and it was amazing!) Add a little vinegar and some herbs and serve over greens for a scrumptious salad. Or puree the beans with garlic, oil, and herbs for a dip or spread. The ideas are endless.
The Greeks fry their Gigantes after breading them first but I like Heidi Swanson’s method of simply frying them in oil or clarified butter and adding greens and garlic. Here is her original recipe. She also has a variation using kale and walnuts on her blog which is also delicious, but in the end, Larry and I liked my variation best.
I had a hard time finding large dried white beans (Gigantes or Carona beans are ideal) so I used large lima beans.
Crispy Giant Beans and Arugula
(inspired by Heidi Swanson’s Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans)
3 cloves smashed and chopped garlic
1 bunch arugula, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Zest from 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak beans overnight.
Turn beans and fry on the other side until golden. (You can do this in batches.) Add garlic to beans in hot pan and stir for about a minute.