Romano Bean Revival


Romanos are among my all-time favorite beans. When picked at the right time and cooked properly, these flat, broad beans are sweet and tender. They are popping up at the farmers’ market this time, right next to those sugar peas. I steam them until tender and then slice on the diagonal and eat them with butter and salt. They’re great in a salad with ripe tomatoes too, just a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

I still remember a salad I ate three years ago at Paisan in Berkeley with Romanos, Blue Lake green beans, ripe, Sungold tomatoes and shaved radishes on top, with a buttermilk and mustard vinaigrette. My version: 1/8 cup buttermilk; 1/8 cup olive oil; salt and pepper to taste, and a teaspoon of grainy mustard. Add a little sugar if you want it sweeter or a little lemon juice if you want a little tartness beyond that of the buttermilk. Sometimes if I have them, I’ll add fresh herbs; marjoram, thyme or chervil is great.