Monday, September 22, 2008

The Trojan Horse of Green Beans

I have an assignment for all of you: If you’re ever at the farmers’ market and you see me, the Single Guy Chef, looking over a tray of purple beans, TELL ME TO STOP AND WALK AWAY.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been so intrigued by these beautifully dark purple beans. I guess you can’t call them green beans, but they are basically green beans in disguise. They’re as intriguing to me as the wax beans, which are yellow.

Awhile back I brought them home and cooked with them, thinking they’ll be a great find for the blog. But I discovered, to my disappointment, that they quickly turned green in the heat. I remember thinking to myself, “gosh, this won’t look good for the blog because they look just like regular green beans and I paid a premium for the purple color.”

So I scratched the idea of a purple bean post.

A few weeks later, I’m at the same farmers’ market and again I see the purple beans. I blocked out my previous experience with the purple beans and bought a bunch—again—this time deciding to mix them with some yellow wax beans for some interesting contrast.

Once I started cooking, I realized that I’ve cooked with the purple beans before. And the same thing happened where they just turned into regular-looking green beans. Still, I made a stir-fry with scallops and it tasted good so despite the lack of purple in the dish, I decided to at least post the recipe. But just so it’s clear, you can just use regular green beans (or mix them with yellow wax beans) but don’t bother with the purple beans.

And don’t forget, it’s your duty to stop me from buying any more purple beans. Even if I didn’t cook them and used them in the salad, the uncooked skin would be too tough to enjoy. So other than a fun show-and-tell item for the kids, just walk on by. Dang tricky color-changing purple beans!

6 comments:

Chubbypanda said...

I made that same mistake with purple bell peppers. A quick stir-fry with beef and they turned this odd brown color. I paid a couple of dollars a pepper too! Sadness...

David said...

Look in the Harold McGee book: if you add a pinch of baking soda to the cooking water, you might retain the colour. I haven't tried it, though.

foodhoe said...

oh what a drag! they looked so gorgeous fresh... I've heard the same thing about purple asparagus, so that's an interesting thing to note.

Mrs. L said...

I haven't found purple string beans at my market yet, but hey, I just found the pluots so who knows!

Chef Ben said...

I wonder about that baking soda trick.MAYBE I might try it again if someone forgets to stop me. ;-)

I do have to say that my experience with purple cauliflower hasn't been that bad. The cauliflower seems to retain its purpleness when steamed but turns grey with boiled.

Foodhoe, I was the one who posted about purple asparagus. Remember? :)

Mrs. L, STOP. Just walk away...

Veronica said...

Purple green beans?? Good thing i read this post or i surely would have been tempted to purchase then if I saw them.

Hmm, I think we'll let you try one more time with the baking soda. For experimental and learning purposes of course.