I Heart Butter Beans

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I've always felt much love for butter beans. As a kid, I hated broccoli and brussels sprouts, but man, I would happily put away the limas.

Lately, it seems as if the little butter bean is showing up on more and more menus. The Fat Hen has a mean seared grouper with sautéed mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, and herbs that are poured on top of fresh, local butter beans to make a delicious soupy mess. I absolutely love this dish.

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Today, I ended up at Monza for lunch. I've had a copy of their menu sitting on my desk, and I've been pondering the butter bean salad for a while. With no description, I had to fill in the blanks. What could it be? The menu has two options: with tuna and with local white shrimp. Would the beans and tuna be mixed with greens? I couldn't fathom. So when I was delivered a bowl full of just warm beans tossed with olive oil, chunks of cooked tuna, and some parsley, I was thrilled. It was a Tuscan bean salad — a pantry dinner staple at my house — with butter beans instead of cannellinis. Genius.

Perhaps the butter bean's newfound prominence on these menus has something to do with the eat-local trend that's been growing in popularity. Personally, I'm just glad to see veggies like the little old butter bean get top billing.

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