My vegetable supply is dwindling down in anticipation of my Friday product delivery so I didn’t have much to work with tonight. I wanted something healthy and without much salt, but packed with flavor. After a scan through the pantry, my mind kept going back to two cans of beans. I walked around the house and thought about it, wrote a few emails, read a few blogs, then decided I would go with a bean mash.
Healthy was my inspiration for tonight. As much as I wanted to use butter and lots of salt, I resisted the urge. I decided to focus on a few flavors that I thought would work well with the beans and enhance their flavor.
Sometimes (i.e. often) I can get heavy handed and add too many things to a dish which then makes it feel scattered. I wanted to boost the flavor of the beans without going crazy by adding loads of spices. The flavors that immediately came to mind were garlic and lemon. The only fresh herb in the house was cilantro and it just didn’t seem right. Fortunately, I remembered that my tarragon just started to take off with our warmer weather so I ran outside to snip a few stems.
I used two cans of beans, one cannellini and one blackeye peas. The mix wasn’t intentional but instead what was lurking in the pantry. I heated a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, then added 2 cloves minced garlic. After 30 seconds, I added the drained and rinsed beans.
I squeezed half a lemon into the beans and continued to cook for about 8 minutes. I stirred the beans frequently to make sure they didn’t burn. Using the back of a wooden spoon I mashed about half of the beans, then added a good dose of cracked black pepper.
Just before serving I stirred in a handful of lightly chopped tarragon. Serve with a nice drizzle of a flavorful olive oil.
The mash turned out good but with a bit too much lemon juice. There was an underlying tartness that I didn’t like. The lemon I used was quite juicy and I added just a tad too much. Maybe the zest would have worked better and not been as tart. The tarragon and garlic worked perfectly with the beans. I love the light anise flavor of tarragon — it works wonderfully with chicken as well.
Next time I would use only cannellini beans and I think the mash could be upgraded from good to superb. I’m not a blackeye pea fan and think I only bought this can because they were on sale. The texture is a bit firmer and the taste isn’t as bean-y as I like, so blending them with the creamy cannellini beans made them more palatable.
Surprisingly, Joe liked the mash quite a bit. He’s not a bean fan and normally groans when I serve them. However, tonight he told me several times tonight how much he liked the mash.
I think he may have been reacting to the tarragon but I didn’t want to say it to him. Last year while weeding our garden Joe mistakenly pulled out all of my tarragon thinking it was a weed. He realized his mistake and felt pretty bad (and likely my reaction to the incident didn’t make him feel any better) so I didn’t want to bring up the topic at dinner while eating the mash.
We bought new tarragon plants last year and they survived the winter. So assuming they survive future gardening, I’ll have plenty of tarragon for cooking this summer.