Lima Beans, known as butterbeans in the South, are one of our most prized fresh summertime vegetables, partly because they are less common than other goodies, like really fresh ripe tomatoes. They are less productive and more labor intensive than many other legumes, even though it is yet another crop native to the Americas.
Imagine our surprise, then, when we were roaming the Festhalle Farmer’s Market yesterday morning, to see market baskets full of butterbeans being sold by one of our favorite farmers. Note: a standard farmer’s market basket is four quarts, or roughly 1/10 of a peck. We swooped in like a chicken on a June bug, only to be told these were a special speckled variety of butterbean. Naturally, that made them more expensive. Nevertheless, we paid up, and bought a basket.
They turned out to not only be a wild range of different psychedelic speckled colors, but also included some funky solid colored beans. They are butterbeans tripping on LSD, and almost too pretty to eat, but eat them we will. Here’s the recipe:
2 cups fresh Butterbeans–any variety. (Frozen will do if fresh are not available)
Seasoning Meat (in order of preference–Tasso, Smoked Ham Hock, Smoked Bacon, Country Ham)
Salt and Pepper
Tasso, in the South, is a Cajun/Creole invention made of heavily spiced strips of pork shoulder, which are then hot smoked, which means smoked and cooked at the same time. It’s easy enough to make yourself. Tasso adds more flavor than other kinds of smoked pork.
The cooking process is simple enough: simmer the beans until they are tender. Removing the seasoning meat when serving is optional. I like my butterbeans to fly solo. These will work great that way, especially considering that they are already on a trip.