Aug 17, 2011

Garden Variety Wednesday #12 & Running, Running, Running

Welcome to
Garden Variety Wednesday #12!
(Link up below)

Monday was back to school here.  Have been running trying to keep up with all that.  Running trying to keep up with all the upgrades/changes going on at work.  And I made a quick run out of town this past weekend. 

While I used to run daily, running doesn't appeal to me anymore. 
I have super bad knees.

So I'm just going to sit a while and combine several things this week.
My knees will thank me.

When I first started looking through Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home cookbook for IHCC, this recipe for Grilled Butterflied Monkfish with a Sweet Runner Bean Stew stood out. 

"Sweet Runner Bean Stew" sounded and looked like something my great grandma would have made with fresh beans from great grandpa's garden.

And "runner bean" made me think of an old Creole song I like, written by Bébé Carrière.  The song has no words, but according to one story it was inspired by a young Bébé Carriere watching his grandmother being chased by a snake. In an interview, Mr. Carrière says of the song, "that was a fast piece, because a Blue Runner is a fast snake." (Tisserand, Michael. The Kingdom of Zydeco)

I just planted my beans, squeezing in a crop between tomatoes and frost.  So they aren't nearly ready. 

But I was able to find some beautiful beans from a store that carries locally grown produce.  Not runner beans, but I couldn't pass 'em up.  They looked so quaint packaged in a gallon ziploc bag.

I didn't bother slicing the beans all skinny, skinny--just cooked them down longer. I skipped the fish part of the recipe (for now), so I can't comment on that.  I can tell you that after reading, making, and tasting the recipe, runner bean stew is nothing like what my great grandmother would have made.  But it was delicious. 

The sauce was complex and flavorful--the tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, and anchovies all worked magic together.  Even though there was no fish to sprinkle it on top of, I used the gremolata anyway (added a little bit of chopped raw garlic to it--that's how I've been schooled in gremolata). I love that stuff.  It was the final touch that made me stop all this crazy running around.  If only for meal time.

Grilled Butterflied Monkfish with a Sweet Runner Bean Stew

from Jamie at Home, printable version found at

1 1/4 pounds runner beans, trimmed
olive oil
1 x 4-ounce jar of good anchovy fillets, in oil
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
24-ounce jar of tomato sauce or 2 x 14-ounce cans of tomatoes, crushed
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 x 7-ounce-thick pieces of monkfish, skinned and trimmed properly – ask your fish monger
a bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley
1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil
a small bunch of fresh green or purple basil, leaves picked

Feed the runner beans through a bean cutter. If you don't have one, just run your peeler down each side of the bean to get rid of the stringy bits and then cut them into 1/2-inch pieces at an angle.

Your runner bean stew can be cooked in advance or started just before you cook the fish. Heat a large saucepan, big enough to hold all the ingredients, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus the oil from the jar of anchovies. Chop 4 of the garlic cloves and fry them gently with the anchovies and dried chili until it all goes soft and the anchovies break down into a mush. Pour in the crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce and add the beans and the rosemary sprigs. Season and bring to the boil. Place a lid on the pan and simmer gently for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the beans are nicely cooked. If the sauce gets a little dry, add a splash of water and give the beans a stir.

Lay the monkfish pieces on a chopping board and slice them horizontally almost in half, so they open out like a book. Try to get them so you have an even thickness on both sides. Score the fish lightly and put to one side. To make the gremolata, finely chop the remaining clove of garlic with a pinch of salt. Next, finely chop the parsley and finely grate the lemon zest. Mix these with the garlic, give it all one last chop and put aside to sprinkle over at the end.

Heat a very large griddle pan or frying pan (or use two smaller ones). Season the fish well with salt and pepper and rub lightly with olive oil. Cook the fish for 2 minutes each side or until just cooked through (don’t be tempted to overcook it).

Take the beans off the heat, taste and season them once again if necessary. Remove the rosemary sprigs and squeeze in the juice from the lemon. Place a pile of beans on each plate and top with a piece of fish. Sprinkle over the basil leaves and gremolata. Or you could serve the whole lot on a big platter in the middle of the table – family service style!

This week's IHCC theme is POTLUCK.  Click below to see what's showing up at the party.
Ms. enPlace

~ Made a dish with something you nurtured in your garden?
~ Maybe a neighbor stopped by and shared some of his/her harvest?
~ Have baskets of goodies from a pick-your-own farm?
~ Found some treasures at your local farmer's market?
Share them here!

* Please don't forget to link back to Ms. enPlace or grab a button.
* Link your post--not your home page.
* Since growing seasons differ so much even across the US, old/archived posts are welcome, but please edit with a link back or a button.
* Have fun visiting other blogs!

Garden Variety Wednesday schedule:
Two rounds left
August 31
September 7

Linking up this week with:
Make a Food-"e"-Friend Monday @ The Saturday Evening Pot
Tuesdays at the Table @ All The Small Stuff
Tasty Tuesday @ Naptime Creations
Hearth and Soul vol 61 @ Mom's Sunday Cafe
Delectable Tuesday @ Home Sweet Farm
Let's Do Brunch @ My Sweet & Savory
Turning the Table Thursday @ Around My Family Table
What's Cooking Thursday @ Feeding Four
Simply Delish @ KB & Whitesnakes Home
Potluck Friday @ EKat's Kitchen
Fresh Food Friday @ la bella vita
Friday Food @ Mom Trends


  1. nothing wrong with this at all but I sure would love to see the one your great grandmother made, I know it was the real deal... like the blue runner song, makes me want to pick up my pace a little bit

  2. Sounds delicious! Finally made it over... sure wish I had some garden tomatoes about now! :) Have a great week and thanks for hosting.

  3. What a delicious stew! Two of my children aren't crazy about fish, but I bet they wouldn't mind with all of the other flavors in this stew. Thanks for sharing your recipe and the darling video with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  4. Nothing perks my interest than when someone says that a sauce is complex. That's what makes it so fantastic.

    It's also nice to see a different way to make beans. I either just steam them or open a can and make the standard green bean casserole. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  5. Looks complicated yet comfort food....good combo of flavors!

  6. This sounds so flavorful and seasonal...I'd love it for a meal :D

  7. Looks sinfully delicious and full of flavor! Will definitely be trying it when the cooler weather arrives. Love the music clip, too! Thanks for the great recipe and for hosting, cher!

  8. First of all, I love the little video clip of your son playing - too cute! I looks like he's adjusted well to being back in school.

    The runner bean stew looks fabulous. Why bother with the fish when you can make a meal of the beans! Love it.

  9. Yum!

    Thanks for sharing at What's Cooking Thursdays!

  10. I've never heard of runner beans before but your stew looks hearty and delicious. I used to run too, but my knees didn't like it. I walk now and they're very happy. Have a great weekend!

  11. This looks wonderful! Thanks for bringing this to my place - Friday Potluck is a richer hop this week because of it!

  12. Thank you for linking up to Tasty Tuesday at Nap-Time Creations. I really hope you can come back and link up again this week!

  13. This looks hearty and comforting and I am loving the rosemary in it-what a great way to make the most of beans. ;-)

  14. I love how you featured running in just about every aspect of this post! Though I'm glad you got a chance to sit and take a breather. this stew looks great!

  15. I really enjoyed this post, and the recipe sounds delicious (with or without the fish!). We have so many runner beans at the moment, this is perfect. Thank you for sharing it with Let's Do Brunch!

  16. Lovely! Great flavours - and good call on the raw garlic! ☺


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