Crunchy Beans + Fresh Shiro Plum & Fennel Sauce
As a child in India, green beans were a ubiquitous vegetable during the winter. My sisters would stir-fry them into new Chinese recipes trying to recreate dishes from our dinners at Calcutta restaurants during vacation. And my favorite variation was Mummy’s crunchy beans lightly sautéed with gram dal and finished with coconut, reminiscent of her roots from Hyderabad.
For years I too used them in familiar ways, and that’s the usual story for most of us, we get stuck in our conditioned cooking routines. So, at this week’s market, I decided to try something new when Wendy the manager, suggested we use the beans.
Kelly’s Farm stand had both, green and wax beans; they were fresh and tender passing the snap test. For a sauce, I decided that the Shiro plums from the Charlton Orchards with some fresh onions, garlic and fennel provided by the Flats Mentor Farm and Farmer Dave would complete the five-ingredient dish-to-be.
Again, flying by the seat of my pants, trusting my nose and palette to guide me. I was hoping to use the fennel in the plum sauce reminiscent of a tart Indian chutney that uses whole fennel seeds.
The resulting experiment was a delicious surprise!
The crunchy beans offered the perfect foil to the tart and sweet sauce layered with the licorice from the fennel. Something I’ll definitely be adding to my summer sides or salad repertoire.
Serves Approx. – 4-6 if served by itself
2 ½ cups chopped green and wax beans
1 fresh onion chopped (only the white part)
1 small clove of garlic minced
1cup fresh plums seeds removed
¼ cup roughly chopped fennel fronds
¼ tsp. salt for the beans
¼ tsp. salt for the sauce
¼ tsp. crushed black pepper for both items
2 tbs. olive or avocado oil
1 tsp. honey
- Chop the ends off the beans and chop them into ½ in. pieces
- Chop the onion into ¼ in. pieces
- Finely mince and chop the garlic clove
- Stir-fry the beans, onion and garlic in a frying pan for about 5-7 minutes until the onions are translucent and the beans are still crunchy to bite
- Roughly chop the fennel fronds
- Wash and rinse the plums and remove the pits, we used about 5-6 small Shiro plums the size of a dollar coin
- Blend the plums with oil, salt, pepper, and honey
- Add the fennel fronds and whisk
- Adjust any salt or pepper and serve warm or chilled as a salad or a side