Copyright Thomas Saaristo  All Rights Reserved
White beans with greens
1 bunch Escarole
Canola oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
House salt
Rainbow peppercorns in a pepper mill
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (Master method follows)
1/2 cup Parmesan broth

Wash the Escarole well just before you are going to cook it, but don’t dry it completely

Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil
and heat until the first wisps of white smoke appear. Carefully add the Escarole and
garlic and turn everything over with a pair of tongs. Season with House salt and
freshly ground pepper

Once the leaves have just wilted, add the beans and Parmesan broth. Reduce the heat
and braise until the beans are warmed through and the escarole is still bright green, 3
to 5 minutes

Serve White beans and greens very warm

Bean tips

When you are buying beans, choose those that have been recently harvested and
dried (look for an expiration date, and try shopping at a store that moves a lot of
them off the shelves), as older beans grow a tough and impermeable shell

If you soak your beans, they only need about 4 hours -- the oft-used phrase “soak the
beans overnight” is more about convenience

I use the quick soak method

Put the beans in a pot, cover them with cold water, bring the water to a boil, and
remove the pot from heat. Cover the pot and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Drain, then
cover the beans with fresh cold water and gently simmer them until tender

If you forgo soaking altogether, just put the unsoaked beans right in a pot, cover with
cold water, and onto the stove for a gentle simmer. I salt my bean-cooking water
(kitchen lore forbidding this is just not true) … and always cook them slow and low

Master method for Pot of beans

Makes 9 cups of beans

3 cups dried white beans, soaked for 4 hours
1 Vidalia onion, halved
2 cloves garlic
2 branches fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
House salt
Best quality extra-virgin olive oil

Drain the beans and put them into a medium, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover them with
cold water by 4 inches or so. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and a big pinch
of salt. Bring the beans just to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally

Reduce the heat to low and very gently simmer them until they are swollen and
tender, 30 to 90 minutes (or more), depending on the freshness of the dried beans.
The beans should remain submerged while they cook, so add more water to the pot if
you need to

Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in a generous pinch of salt. Add a good glug of
olive oil. Let the beans cool to just warm or to room temperature in the cooking liquid.
(The beans will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days)