Saturday, July 28, 2018

Som Tam with Purple Beans

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you'll find pastured meats and eggs from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm, cut flowers from Tiger Lily Art Company, and fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm, including lettuce, gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, and beans.

With the hot temperatures I have been searching for no cook, refreshing dishes, and had a craving for Thai flavors. I found just what I was looking for in Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's Hot, Sour, Salt, Sweet: a version of green papaya salad, but made with long beans. Swapping in Camas Swale's purple beans was the perfect way to preserve their brilliant color while infusing them, after a good pounding in a mortar, with vibrant lime juice, fish sauce, chiles, crushed peanuts, and tomatoes.

Som Tam with Purple Beans
from Jeffrey Alford's Hot, Sour, Salt, Sweet
1 large garlic clove
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp dried shrimp, minced
1 to 2 bird miles, minced
pinch of sugar, or more to taste
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
2 plum tomatoes or 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb long beans or green or purple beans, trimmed, cut lengthwise in half, and the cut crosswise into 1 1/2 inch lengths. (Note, if the beans are large and tough, you can parboil them briefly in boiling water and refresh them in cold water before trimming and cutting).

Lettuce leaves
1/4 head Savoy cabbage, cores and cut into small wedges

Place the garlic, salt, peanuts, dried shrimp, chiles, and sugar in a large mortar or in a food processor and pound or process to a paste. If using a processor, transfer the paste to a bowl. Stir in the lime juice and fish sauce, then add the chopped tomatoes and a generous handful of beans. If using a mortar, stir in the lime juice and fish sauce, the tomatoes, and the handful of beans. Pound with the pestle or the back of a wooden spoon, being careful not to splash yourself, to mash the beans a little and combine them with the flavorings. Gradually add the remaining beans, mashing and blending as you do. Taste for salty-hot-sweet balance and adjust the flavors as you wish.

Mound onto a serving plate lined with lettuce leaves. Place the wedges of cabbage around the edge of the plate. Serve immediately. 

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