Lima beans are often maligned as the soggy – yet also dessicated? – pods in frozen mixed vegetables. I myself used to pick these things out of my dinner so I could dispense with them all in one terrible dusty bite.
Then, in summer 2006, I ate limas at Manago Hotel in Kona, HI. This historic, no-frills hotel restaurant has served simple, yet epically delicious, local-style food since 1917! They’d simmered the beans in a soy sauce mixture until they were silky, sweet, and salty. I could have eaten just those with a bowl of rice for dinner!
Ever since then I’ve figured that braising pre-frozen limas is the way to go. This week’s lunch features an Iranian recipe, which simmers beans with a little olive oil, lots of dill, a whole head of garlic, a pinch of turmeric, and a squeeze of lime juice at the end. Curiously, it reminds me most of matzo ball soup. The dill and garlic create the Jewish flavor profile, while the rich creamy texture gives it that comfort-food feel. The original recipe added slivered almonds, but I’ll skip those next time. They’re good, but not needed.
I paired my beans with honey-roasted carrots (carrots/honey/salt-pepper-oil, chuck in a 450 oven) and a massaged kale salad. Massaging kale is magical! Just sprinkle chopped kale with a pinch of salt and plunge in the hands. It takes about five minutes of rubbing, but the leaves reduce in size and become tender enough to enjoy raw. Some folks stem the kale first, but I don’t bother – they add a nice crunch.
After massaging, I made a quick cooked vinaigrette. Saute chopped garlic (I used 4 cloves) until golden in a spoonful of olive oil. Toss in a handful of raisins, a slug of balsamic vinegar, and some salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer until the raisins are plump and the mixture has reduced somewhat. Man, this is a tangy-sweet triumph that you could use on any sturdy salad or cooked leafy green.