They say that when beans have cooked long enough, you can gently blow on them and their skins will split and peel back. This one unfolded like a pair of wings, or gauze curtains. I thought it was just lovely. A little creepy, perhaps, but lovely.
I like to double-check for doneness by biting into a few beans, and making sure they’re actually cooked all the way to the center.
They also say not to add salt or acidic ingredients — tomatoes, for example — until the beans are nearly done. One can make them mushy, the other can prevent them from softening, though I can never remember which is which. Perhaps someday we will do a scientific experiment to see if either one actually makes a difference.
These are royal corona beans, the ones I used to distract my nephews when they began arguing over who had more pink runner beans. The pink beans were fresh and came from our garden; these were dried and came from Rancho Gordo.
I kept them simple, a long slow simmer with garlic, bay leaves, parsley, and a bit of olive oil. Stirred in some salt when the beans were nearly done.
Lunch was warm beans, sautéed greens, and big chunks of farmers market tomatoes, all piled on some fresh tortillas (we were out of bread, and it’s faster to make tortillas than to go to the store) and topped with some lemon zest (because when you have a lemon tree you put lemon zest on everything) and a drizzle of olive oil. I’m fine using canned beans for a lot of things, but for something like this, homemade is absolutely worth the effort.