This was initially going to be a very brief post with a short simple recipe. What ended up happening is that I went browser bankruptand what started off as quick check on types of beans and legumes, ended up being a full on research mission on vegetable taxonomy and gardening. In my defence, after 30-35 tabs, I did clarify many doubts around veggie classification and stumbled upon some cool resources (all of which I will mention below, claro).
It all really started with this recipe by Ottolenghi. His recipes are fresh healthy simple natural and, on top of that, they make the soul smile. You can find them on his site or here.
I started by the basic question: what are beans, in general? It was actually quite difficult to find decent and consistent bean classifications, but I ended up getting an idea of it: bush or pole (depending on how you grow them); snap/string, fresh shell or dry (according to the stage at which they’re eaten).
I then went on to investigate what green beans are. I didn’t know this, but they are the unripe, young fruit and protective pods of certain bean varieties. Unlike other types of beans, they are harvested and consumed with their enclosing pods, which is why we typically boil, steam or fry them – although raw sugarsnaps with hummus or guacamole are always a nice option too! There are over 130 varieties of green beans and many many healthy reasons to eat them on a regular basis.
Eventually, I realised how little I know about the vegetable world. The sources of this realisation were two beautiful charts on veg & fruit taxonomy that I stumbled upon:
I got so deep into the topic (who knew I would be so fascinated by beans?) that I ended up finding a paper from the Washington State University on Vegetable Classification Types (botanical, by edible part, by temperature required, hardness, by life cycle…) – crazy stuff. I am not going to go into the details, but if you are as freaky as me, click here.
In any case… this is delicious, super easy to make and comforting. So enjoy!
- 220g green beans + water to boil
- 1 small white/red onion
- 80g hazelnuts – or cashews, pinenuts, walnuts, peanuts… 🙂
- 1 orange zest and juice
- Peanut rayu
- Preheat oven to 200º. Place hazelnuts in a tray and toast for 5-10 minutes at 180º. Watch out because they burn easily!
- Set around 1 litre of water to boil in a sauce pan. Rinse beans and add to boiling water. Cook until dente then rinse with cold water to prevent overcooking.
- Set a sauté pan to medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, when heated, add finely chopped onion and cook until golden.
- Add beans, hazelnuts and cook for 5 minutes.
- Grate orange zest and squeeze juice, pour into the pan.
- Turn off heat, add rayu and stir well until mixed!