Tuesday, July 22, 2008

That Can of Beans in Your Pantry

When I bring home the goods there are some things that go much faster than the rest. Last time I bought groceries my prized jewels were the lovely tender and sweetly tart raspberries I splurged on. For the next three meals I ate, no matter what else was on the plate, I made room for my pretties. They would sit there with a droplet or two of water, surprising my palate intermittently while I worked through the rest of my meal.

Eleven days later, however, the food situation is less than ideal. This is the point when I open cabinets and assess the troops to figure out exactly what I'm working with. There are some trusty soldiers that always seem to be at attention waiting to be called to the front line; yet more often than not, I disappoint these loyal staples. Among them is the humble can of beans.

With a mother from El Salvador, there is no way that I could not think of beans as a staple. My mom has always excelled at making a good pot of beans, but even she always kept a couple of cans on hand--just in case. It's only natural that when shopping for something to have on hand, I reach for one of the sons of Goya. Unfortunately, once in my home, they tend to get lost in the shuffle.

Last summer I did have a love affair with pigeon peas. I tell no lies when I say that I would literally open the can, drain them, drop them in a bowl and enjoy. I know this may cause you to doubt me somewhat, but all I have to say is have a little faith, give it a go even and let me know what you think. Unlike most beans, the pigeon pea is not stored in a thick broth. The water drains quite easily.

For those of you, however, who would like to give a little more care to the can of beans you've been so carelessly ignoring, please try out the recipe below. To my happy surprise I found out that the humble bean can be just as delightful as those sassy raspberries.

Frigoles con Pescaditos (Ten minutes)

Half a can of kidney beans
a medium-small bowl of steamed broccoli rabe, roughly chopped before steaming.
A small can of high quality tuna
Two small filets of anchovies minced
Lemon juice
Two garlic scapes chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil, generous drizzle over top that can blend in, but not too much.

Steam the broccoli rabe in the microwave. Before you put it in the microwave sprinkle some water over it and cover. Set for two minutes. Meanwhile, drain tuna fish and mince the anchovies. When broccoli rabe is ready, take it out. You will probably have to let it sit for a second while you chop up the scapes. When you have all ingredients ready as listed above, then mix them together.

Let this lovely combination sit for a few minutes, enjoy, but leave half. It has a different but equaly enjoyable taste when you let the flavors blend a few hours in the fridge. Very amazing. This serves two as a side dish or one person as a main course, assuming you will eat the other half as the cold version.

Buen provecho!

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