Winged Beans

January 20, 2016


Cooking here on St. John has proved challenging.  I came with visions of tropical fish, fresh coconuts and papayas, heaps of glowing green vegetables. What I’ve discovered is that almost everything is imported from somewhere else and I’m shopping mostly in the supermarket, grateful to come upon a decent piece of fruit.

There are a couple of exceptions, but the best find so far is the wonderful Josephine’s Greens, an organic garden on the other side of the island in Coral Bay.  Sadly we arrived too late for the passion fruit – they’d all been sold –  but we did find green papayas, lovely garlic chives, lemongrass, beautiful salad greens and these winged beans.  I’d never seen them before, so of course I bought them.

“What should I do with them?” I asked Josephine.

She shrugged.  “Anything,” she said.

“Raw? Stir fried?”

“Anything,” she repeated.

So I improvised.

I began by cutting the beans into inch long pieces; they’re crisper than they look, and when they encounter a knife they emit a satisfying crunch.

I smashed a couple of cloves of garlic, chopped up a small onion and minced a small knob of ginger.

Coating a large saute pan with peanut oil, I threw in the onions, waited until their fragrance filled the air,  then tossed in the garlic and ginger and worried them about a bit. I added the beans and a bit of salt and stir-fried them for a few seconds.  Somehow it still needed something.  Rummaging in the refrigerator I came upon some leftover canned diced tomatoes, and added them, along with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Stirred a bit more, tasted, and at the last minute splashed in some soy sauce.

Crisp, delicious, entirely refreshing.

I’m off to Josephine’s to buy some more winged beans.  There are so many possibilities…..IMG_7309

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