I hated lima beans as a kid. Â They would come out of my grandparents’ garden in buckets and the difficult task of shelling them was a shared responsibility. Â However, given the skewed memories of children (and knowing what I now know about how much mothers get done), I probably had to shell about four of them before I decided it was the most impossible thing ever and I needed to go play. Something tells me that my grandmother, my aunts, and my mom probably did a few more than I.
But I think I hated the lima bean eating even more than the shelling. Â This is meant to be of no disrespect to the hands that cooked them, but HOLY SHIT, did you have to cook them so long? Â I’m sure that some people like their lima beans really cooked, but I could never get over the mushy, paste-like texture.
When I started to get involved in our CSA and local farmer’s markets, I decided to give lima beans another try. Â I guess the nostalgia of my childhood got the best of me and I was pretty sure there was a reason the adults loved them so much. Â And low and behold, I realized that I do indeed love lima beans. Â And my kids do too. Â But we tend to season them heavily and err on the side of about five minutes of cooking — unless we have a lot of art projects to do.
Lima Beans with Garlic, Lemon Zest, and Herbs
4 cups of lima beans, shelled
1/2 red onion, chopped (can use shallots also)
2 T butter
1-2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Zest of two lemons, finely chopped
1 T lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
1. Â Melt one tablespoon of butter in a saute pan, and cook red onion until very soft and slightly caramelized. Â Set aside.
2. Â Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil and cook lima beans for 4-5 minutes until just tender. Â (Larger beans will obviously take longer than smaller ones.) Â Drain the beans and immediately plunge into an ice bath or rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Â Put beans out on paper towels and dry off a bit.
3. Â Reheat red onion over medium high heat and add the additional tablespoon of butter. Â Add beans and cook 1-3 minutes, just until hot. Â Remove pan from heat.
4. Â Stir in chopped garlic, lemon zest, mint and chives (several tablespoons of each), 1 T lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.