Pole Beans with Sunflower Seed Pesto: Seasonal Chef Recipe

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This week pole beans have hit the farmers market stands in a BIG way. Oodles and oodles of beans stacked high on almost all of farmers tables. Last year I did a piece on Romano Beans, and decided to shine a little sun on their yellow and green siblings. To give them a little pizzazz I worked up a super simple sunflower seed pesto. Look for nice firm beans when purchasing. If they are soggy or have dark spots put them back. Once home you can store them in a thin produce bag lined with a paper towel in the fridge crisper bin, but do try to use them right away.

Blanched pole beans.

In the winter I like braising green beans in a tomato sauce, a Greek-style my mother taught me. In the summer I prefer a quick blanch. Blanching keeps the beans crisp-tender and retains their bright flavor. Simply bring a pot of salted water to boil, drop them in for two minutes, drain and place in an ice bath to cool. Cooling will be less than a minute, so drain again and pat dry with pater towels. Nipping the ends before cleaning will probably take more time than the actual cook.

Making sunflower seed pesto, Seasonal Chef Maria Reina recipe.

My initial inspiration came from one of my favorite blogs the Smitten Kitchen. A few weeks ago she had an almond pesto that had a grainy texture and looked amazing on the beans. For mine I used sunflower seeds.  Sunflower seeds are a great alternative in pestos for people with nut allergies. They are loaded with great vitamins and minerals and have a delicious mild taste.

Sunflower Seed Pesto, Seasonal Chef Maria Reina recipe

The end result will be something really different. The texture is clumpy and feels a little like thick wet sand. To get the pesto to cling to the beans give them a little drizzle of olive oil and toss the pesto with your fingers. You could add more oil and a bit of water to get a traditional consistency, but this version will give you a very cool look and really nice taste and texture for the dish.

This coming Friday I have a new cooking class at Hilltop Hanover Farm. This is the fourth in my summer series and a lot of fun. I hear they will be harvesting fairy tale eggplant and some other spectacular ingredients. This week’s class runs from 4:00-6:00. Click this link for more details: Farm Stand Cooking Class Series.

Over the weekend you will find me demoing my pole bean dish at the Hastings Farmers Market on Saturday from 10:00-Noon, and at the Irvington Farmers Market on Sunday, at the same time. Please stop by my table for a taste and to say hello!

Buon Appetito!

One year ago: Rainier Cherries
Two years ago: Radishes
Three years ago: Peaches

Pole Beans with Sunflower Seed Pesto: Seasonal Chef Recipe

Yield: 4 - 6 Servings

Simmering and braising pole beans is great for the winter, but in the summer a quick blanch is the best way to appreciate their bright crisp flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb yellow and green beans, mixed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 garlic scapes, flower removed, ½” chop
  • 1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup packed parsley leaves, stems discarded
  • 2 oz Manchego cheese, sliced in thick shards
  • Ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of ½ lemon

Instructions

  1. In a pot of boiling salted water blanch the beans for two minutes. Remove immediately and place in a bowl of ice water, to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. In a food processor pulse the garlic scapes to break them up. Add the sunflower seeds and process until they are completely broken up and grainy. Scraping down the sides as needed.
  3. Add the parsley leaves and Manchego and let the machine run for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Sprinkle in ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  4. Starting with ¼ cup of olive oil, drizzle it in while the machine runs for 30 seconds. Scrape and mix it up with your spatula. Add a little more oil, if needed, but only to bring it together. The consistency should be like clumpy wet sand. Add the lemon zest and juice and pulse a few times to incorporate.
  5. Turn the pesto out in a bowl and taste for seasoning. With your fingers break it up a little.
  6. Drizzle the beans with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle about half of the pesto over the bean mix and toss with your hands. The olive oil on the beans will help the pesto stick. Reserve the rest of the pesto for another use, or freeze for later.
  7. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Notes

If garlic scapes are not available substitute two nice plump garlic cloves in their place.

http://food.lohudblogs.com/2015/07/22/pole-beans-with-sunflower-seed-pesto-seasonal-chef-recipe/

Yellow and Green Beans with Sunflower Seed Pesto
Serves 4-6

1 lb yellow and green beans, mixed
Kosher salt
2 garlic scapes, flower removed, ½” chop
1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup packed parsley leaves, stems discarded
2 oz Manchego cheese, sliced in thick shards
Ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of ½ lemon

1. In a pot of boiling salted water blanch the beans for two minutes. Remove immediately and place in a bowl of ice water, to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a food processor pulse the garlic scapes to break them up. Add the sunflower seeds and process until they are completely broken up and grainy. Scraping down the sides as needed.
3. Add the parsley leaves and Manchego and let the machine run for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Sprinkle in ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
4. Starting with ¼ cup of olive oil, drizzle it in while the machine runs for 30 seconds. Scrape and mix it up with your spatula. Add a little more oil, if needed, but only to bring it together. The consistency should be like clumpy wet sand. Add the lemon zest and juice and pulse a few times to incorporate.
5. Turn the pesto out in a bowl and taste for seasoning. With your fingers break it up a little.
6. Drizzle the beans with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle about half of the pesto over the bean mix and toss with your hands. The olive oil on the beans will help the pesto stick. Reserve the rest of the pesto for another use, or freeze for later.
7. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Cook’s note: If garlic scapes are not available substitute 2 nice plump garlic cloves in their place.

Recipe created by Maria Reina of Bella Cucina Maria, and “Seasonal Chef” for LoHud.com.

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About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She’s an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer’s markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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