I was going to make a polenta and shell beans, but it got too late for grilled polenta (which has to chill for 4 hours after an hour of prep and before grilling), so I moved that dinner to Sunday, and made lamb for the first use of the shell beans tonight.
I cooked the shell beans early in the afternoon and then let them sit in their cooking water, to absorb as much flavor as possible. I cooked them in water to cover by more than an inch, with a long sprig of rosemary and five peeled garlic cloves, plus 1/3 tsp salt for about a cup of shelled beans. Should have used more salt, so try 1/2 tsp next time. We salted at the table. I turned the heat down too much I think, so the beans were not done after 30 minutes. I turned them up and cooked another 15 mins, and they were great.
I took out two packs of six chunks each of lamb from the leg I got from Costco, defrosted, then marinated in the juice of a half lemon, a goodly splash of olive oil, and a whole lot of thyme leaves, mixed well. D was particularly complimentary about the large amount of thyme. It was probably 1 Tbsp or so – I pruned one of the woodier little plants, and planned this dinner to use up the leaves, which were in places rather sparse.
I had beet greens left from the bunch of beets in the Nicoise salad last week, plus two more bunches for another salad upcoming (two colors this time!). I used about half of those, cleaned them well: I washed each leaf separately, rubbing it under water (had to send the water to the garden several times during this process as it got so muddy), then stemmed the leaves and cut them into 2″ or so sections, and rewashed once in the lettuce spinner. I let them dry on a towel before cooking in oil with a bit of salting. I realized they were not getting tender enough, and added some water to the pan to steam them, covered, till done. I bought an Acme rustic sweet baguette for lunch and dinner, and I thought it was a particularly good match for this meal..
We had a Christmas wine (personally chosen wine-of-the-month from D) with this and it was superb – a 2009 Savigny-les-Beaune from Ecard. D bought this one at North Berkeley Wines at their mega 50% off sale, which brought it down to a reasonable once-a-month price. The little washer and dryer are actually salt and pepper shakers, which we saw in New York way back before the internet, and when we had exactly that kind of washer. I really wanted to buy them, despite the fact that they were $32, b/c didn’t think we’d ever see them again – and indeed that would have been true if the net had not materialized!