While we started beans for our fall garden, they're not ready to harvest. I did find some lovely green beans at the organic market, so I decided I would make a modern recipe for Hannah Woolley's recipe for frying "Garden-beans." During the seventeenth century, John Tradescant the Elder introduced the English to runner beans.* For the preparation, Woolley writes: "Boil them well, then blanch them and fry them with sweet butter, whole pursley, and shred onions, and melt butter for the sawce" (p. 11).
Here's my recipe:
Sautéed Green Beans
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 shallot, grated
1 lb green beans, blanched or steamed for about 5 minutes (so they're still crisp)
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
freshly-ground sea salt
Melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, grate in the shallot. Stir, then throw in the green beans and the parsley. Season well with salt. Cook just long enough to coat the green beans in parsley and butter.
Because the Restoration totally rocks and Sir Peter Lely is an awesome painter, here's one of his paintings of Charles II (painted sometime around 1665), who is one of my very favorite bad monarchs. He's best known today for his slew of mistresses. Besides that, he was the first monarch to allow women on the English stage (Charles II, feminist icon?) and he quite frequently performed the same kind of political acts that got his father beheaded and his brother dethroned, such as governing without Parliament for years while he secretly got funding from his cousin, Louis XIV.
from the Royal Collection
Plus he had all those little dogs.
Rupert Everett as Charles II in Stage Beauty, which was ahistorical in the extreme, but I thought Everett made a great Charles
*Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (New York: Bloomsbury, 2007), 131-132.