Calypso Beans With Fried Sage Leaves

My Friday lunch hour at TomatoLand, a farmer’s market in Tallahassee, yielded a few delights in addition to the fresh fried oysters they were serving up for lunch. The Georgia peaches were perfectly ripe and the colors of a beachy sunset. We have gotten in the habit of making fresh peach iced tea on the weekends, so I loaded up on peaches. Vidalia onions beckoned, as did plump Inchelium Red garlic. I didn’t buy a lot of other veggies, because we grow most of our own, but they had fresh rhubarb in the fridge. It is hard to find fresh rhubarb, and I knew my husband and daughter would enjoy a strawberry-rhubarb pie. But that’s another post…

Calypso Beans

While my oysters were frying up in the kitchen, an exploration of the little gourmet shop at TomatoLand led me to local stone-ground grits from Bradley’s Country Store. Bradley’s still uses the mill that has been in their family for generations, and I have been anxious to give the grits a try. I also picked up locally smoked bacon, because it is a requirement for weekend cooking.

As I waited to pay for my goodies, I spied a bag of gorgeous dried Calypso beans. From the simple way they were packaged, I had to assume they were local, too, and I had to have them. With their unusual black and white markings, Calypso beans are also known as Yin/Yang or Dalmatian beans. It doesn’t take much effort to make up a fabulous pot of beans, richly flavored with onion, garlic and more of that smoky bacon.

Cooking With Le Crueset

I soaked the pretty beans overnight, and on Saturday afternoon, when the heat and humidity drove me into the blessed air-conditioning of my kitchen, I pulled out my treasured Le Creuset pot, and started the beans. A gift I received at P. Allen Smith’s Garden2Blog event, I love my Le Creuset French oven because it cooks evenly and has a wonderful weight to it. It goes from stove-top, to oven, to table with style. My Le Creuset French Oven is perfect for one-pot dishes like these simple Calypso beans or for something a little more complicated, like coq au vin or jambalaya. Topped with a drizzle of fruity olive oil, a little Parmesan, and crispy fried sage leaves from the garden, the Calyspo beans will make an easy Saturday night supper with a little crusty bread and a light green salad.

Cooking With Le Crueset

Calypso Beans with Fried Sage Leaves

1 pound Calypso Beans (or dried pinto beans)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 of a large onion, chopped (approximately 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped smoky bacon or country ham

Soak the beans for 6 or more hours in enough water to generously cover them, or bring them to a boil and let them simmer until tender (1-2 hours).

In a large pan, heat the olive oil, then add the onion and garlic and cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the beans and 5-6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer until the beans are soft, checking them regularly for a nice consistency. Mine took a little over an hour at a low simmer. To serve the beans, top them with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, and for a special treat, fried sage leaves.

Fried Sage Leaves

1 bunch fresh sage
1/4 cup olive oil
Coarse salt

Pinch off leaves from sage. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Fry 6–8 sage leaves at a time until crisp, 2–3 seconds. Transfer with a fork to paper towels and sprinkle generously with coarse salt.

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Cowlick Cottage Farm Welcome to CCF. I’m Carolyn Binder, a passionate writer, avid photographer, cook and gardener. My love of gardening and writing have transformed my cooking and our lifestyle (...more)

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