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Friday, August 10, 2007

Breakfast of champions

'hashbrown' lima beans

Ok, breakfast of this champion at least. What am I doing calling myself a champion, you asked? Hey, didn't you hear, self-affirmation is good for you. Ha.

I should tell you first I'm not much of a savory-beans eater - when I grew up in Asia most beans were in desserts. I haven't really been able to get over that childhood silliness. Not helping the matter is how most beans are hardly worth eating anyway - flavorless, old supermarket beans with a texture of decomposing bread, or Mexican refried beans as thick as cement paste.

Anyway, my friend Steve of Rancho Gordo gave me a bag of giant lima beans the other day. Before you jump on my case for taking and plugging freebies I should tell you I work for them beans! When Steve is alone at the Saturday farmers market - rare now that he's got his gal pal Joan helping out - I would keep his stall for him while he takes a pee break! Plenty of people have seen me selling beans. There may have even been photographic evidence.

These lima beans are giant, and, despite what I've heard about lima beans, Steve assured me they are muy tasty. So I took them, and yesterday morning turned them into this crazy good breakfast.

It's so easy to make it's hardly worth writing a recipe. But here it is anyway if you insist on one.

Lima beans and bacon for champions
serve 2

1/2 cup Lima beans
6 slices of thick-cut bacon
1 small onion, chopped
2 eggs (optional)

Soak the beans at least six hours to overnight. Drain and add the beans to a pot, fill with water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down a bit and cook for 45 minutes or until done. Drain. You can cook the beans in advance and keep in the fridge to be used the next morning. That's what I did.

Cut the bacon into small pieces, about 1cm wide. Add them to a frying pan and spread them all around. Turn the heat on to medium-high, let the bacon pieces cook down to render all the fat. When the fat is rendered and the bacon crispy, remove the bacon pieces and most of the fat from the pan. Reserve both the bacon and the fat.

Add the chopped onions to the pan with a pinch of salt and cook until the onions are translucent. Remove the onions.

The reserved fat goes back into the pan, add the cooked beans and a good pinch of salt. Fry the beans until blistery and brown on both sides in the bacon fat, add a knob or two of butter if it looks a bit dry. Bacon bits and onions go back into the pan, shake it a few times to mix well.

Voila, you are done. This amount should serve two hungry breakfasters in your house. Precisely why you both are so ravenous in the morning I shall leave to your imagination.

If you want to really top it off properly, fry two eggs overeasy - so that the whites are set and the yolk are still runny - and top the pile of beans and bacon with these eggs. Cut the eggs right in through the middle of the yolk so the gooey yolk ooze over the beans. Yum.

You can also fry the eggs like they do in Thailand - or in Spain - that's to say in a pan with lots of very hot oil. Crack the eggs in, one at a time. The eggs should cook very quicking, the edges of the whites blistering and brown and the yolks barely cooked at all. Fish them out from the oil and put them over the pile o' beans. Even more yum.

Oh, yes, and they are even better with a few slogs of the Gay Caballero sauce on top of everything.


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