Les Haricots Coco
I’m not sure why these are called coco beans, as opposed to cranberry or Borlotti beans as they’re known in the States, but haricots coco is certainly a charming name and much more fun to say. They’re one of my favorites, and are in the markets now, spilling brightly from their baskets under today’s grey sky.
Utterly simple to prepare, they pop easily out of the pod and into the pot. All you need are a few leaves of fresh sage and water to cover, and you’re ready to go. Oh, and more time than you’d think. These fresh beans take about 45 minutes to simmer to tenderness, so put a pot on the stove well in advance of dinner. When they’re soft and creamy, gently stir in some fruity olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Voila! These are delicious warm as is, but are also nice to stir into a little mélange of corn and Romano beans as I did the other night, or even to add to a room temperature salad of diced vegetables as I did today. Probably they’d be good with other herbs as well, but the marriage with sage is so perfect that I can never bring myself to make them any other way.
I’ve been making cranberry beans like this for about 14 years. In California, in Ohio, in Washington, and now in France. Some things are universal and travel easily. Others are particular to place and time, so for those of you who have been asking what we miss from home
Shel is really missing his espresso machine, while all of us, especially Beppo, are missing our espresso helper cat Sushi. And just last night I told Shel that I was having my first fit of homesickness and missed…….but today neither of us can remember what it was whose absence I felt so keenly only a few hours ago.
Our new life is a gentle see-saw ride. This morning I struggled with a French dictation quiz, now my thoughts resist their return to English. Yesterday American friends were here, today they’re gone. Last week it was too hot to breathe, today it’s too cool to swim. Last month they were cranberry beans, today they’re haricots coco. It’s a c’est la vie day.