Eat Well: Gigande Beans, The Magical Fruit

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
I am hopelessly lacking in organizational skills. A failure. It’s not that I don’t want to improve. Believe me I try. But unfortunately when they were giving out the “neat” gene, I was passed over. Keeping cupboards organized is a constant battle, which I am sure sounds odd to you tidy types, but as hard as it is for you to imagine my plight, that is how difficult it is for me to visualize uncluttered drawers and orderly closets. “When the kids grow up, it will be different,” thought my younger self. But, alas, it isn’t so. One of my biggest challenges is my food cupboard, especially since I buy lots of grain, beans, nuts, and other foods in bulk, so I always have bags of these products in a jumble. Why it has taken me THIS MANY YEARS to actually figure out a solution, I will never know. Part of the problem has been that I haven’t wanted to spend $15 at Bed Bath and Beyond for plastic quart containers, especially since I need A LOT of them—probably about 20—which would set me back about $300. Obviously this would be a one-time investment and I could have had all these years of pleasure as I happily opened my cupboard to blissful orderliness—definitely worth the $300—but for some reason, that logic never sunk into my thick head.
When we were at David’s, I noticed his large array of grains used for brewing beer, all stored in large mason jars. MASON JARS!! DUH!!!!! What a great idea! Where have I been? $12 for 12, less than ONE container from BBB! And, they aren’t PLASTIC!!! So yesterday I bought a case and this morning I cleaned out the cupboard. I filled all 12 jars and need at least another 8 to finish the job. As I happily gaze upon the sight of shiny jars lined neatly in my cupboard, I am instantly a little girl in my grandmother’s pantry reaching for green-lidded glass canisters filled with Ritz crackers and flour, macaroni and cookies. Too bad it has taken me this many years to follow her lead. I wish I had remembered to take a before picture, but here is the after. I finally have some Greek Gigandes beans c/o my friend Mary who found them at a wholesale market in San Diego. Several months past you might recall I wrote about this recipe, which is delicious but requires frying the beans. I wasn’t in the mood to fuss the other day so came up with this recipe and I like it even better.

The black sesame truffle salt comes from my farmer’s market but I have contacted the seller, a local couple who have a sprout and salt business, and they told me they are just starting to sell their salt on Etsy. (Here is the link.) The salt is unbelievably delicious and makes these beans. It is yummy on sprouted beans—or just about anything you can imagine. If you can’t find the Gigandes in your city, you can order them here. They are worth every penny….by far the best beans I have ever tasted—creamy and sweet. They work great as a puree or substitute for any lima bean recipe. They are also the base for the very popular Greek dish, Gigandes Plaki which I hope to make this week when Rebecca’s family comes down for a few days—maybe next week’s post?  I am obsessed with these beans!
lima, dry gigande, soaked gigande

Gigandes beans with garlic and sesame truffle salt 

1 lb Gigandes beans
½ cup good quality olive oil (more to add later)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
2 T Vitalsalts sesame black truffle salt* (more to taste)
freshly ground pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight in lots of water (they soak it up like a sponge). Drain.
Cover generously with fresh water. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium for about an hour, or until beans are tender. Drain. Put olive oil in a pot and heat on medium high. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds or until garlic is aromatic.
Pour over beans. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. I serve as a side dish and top with generous amounts of olive oil and add another pinch of salt. Or, add to chopped greens for a fabulous main-dish salad.
You can also take the beans and puree them, adding more lemon and oil to make into a spread that is out of this world! Add tahini for a white bean hummus.

*NOTE: Vitalsalts sesame salt is not pure salt—hence the 2 tablespoons of it in the recipe. If you substitute for other truffle salts, cut this way down—maybe to 2 teaspoons—and add more truffle oil to give it more truffle flavor. But I highly recommend getting Vitalsalts salt—it is truly unique! Enjoy!