I first saw this recipe in Bon Appetit and was fascinated. It used interesting ingredients combined in a unique way and I had to try it. The recipe was given in response to an email from BA writer to Marlow chef Patch Troffer, but the recipe had no measurements and timing. After making it, I adjusted a few things and added quantities and timing and was very happy with the results. I ordered my dried beans from Rancho Gordo in Napa and they were excellent.
To make it spectacular, you really do need to make the garlic confit and preserved tomatoes. They aren’t hard to make, but set aside a bit of time. Make a full recipe and then use the rest for other dishes.
3 heads of Garlic, peeled and left whole.
3/4-1 cup Olive Oil
4 springs fresh Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
2 dried Chili Peppers
Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and cook on barest simmer for 1-2 hours. (This broad cooking time is due to the fact that some garlic has more moisture than others). You’ll want the cloves to be submerged in the oil while cooking and be a light golden brown when done. Remove from heat, cool completely and add to a lidded glass container and store in the refrigerator. FYI, this pic shows a smaller batch. Clearly I did not follow my own advice to make a full recipe and I ended it up having to make more.
3 medium Tomatoes, halved and cored.
1/4 cup Olive Oil
4 sprigs fresh Thyme
4 Bay Leaves
Sea Salt and Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Sugar
Take 1/2 of the olive oil and pour into the baking dish. Add the thyme sprigs and a bit of the salt, pepper and sugar. Lay the tomatoes sliced side down and drizzle rest of olive oil over them. Wedge the bay leaves in between and finish with rest of salt, pepper and sugar. Into a preheated 250F oven for 2 hours. Turn over the tomatoes at the half way mark and continue cooking. Allow to cool and transfer to a container and store in refrigerator.
Marlow and Son’s Butterbeans
1 lb Dried White Lima Beans, soaked overnight.
1/2-3/4 cup of Garlic Confit
2 halves of preserved Tomatoes, loosely chopped.
1 Lemon, sliced in half and cooked flesh side down in a dry sautepan until browned.
1 tsp dried Oregano, if using fresh, increase the amount.
1 tsp dried Thyme, if using fresh, increase the amount.
2 1/2 tsp Salt
3 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar
Toasted Bread Crumbs, coarse and seasoned.
Dollop of Aioli - Marlow and Son’s recipe called for it, but I didn’t have it handy. I’m sure it would make it even better.
After your beans have finished soaking, bring them up to a boil and skim the scum. Add some salt, stir and skim one more time. It’s important to add the salt as the cooking process progresses. Don’t just dump it all in at once. Layering the seasoning is the best approach.
Reduce to gentle simmer and add the garlic confit, so you have at least an inch of oil covering the beans. Stir in gently and add some salt, some thyme and some oregano. Cook for 1 hour on the barest simmer.
Then add in the preserved tomatoes and browned lemon halves and some additional salt. Add the rest of the thyme and oregano. Cook for 2 hours.
Taste for salt and seasoning and adjust as needed. Splash in your sherry vinegar and cook for additional 10- 15 minutes. Spoon into large bowls and top with toasted bread crumbs.
Note: This total cooking time of 3 1/2 hours should be good, but if you feel it needs a bit more time, then go for it. You want the beans to be soft on the inside. My only other advice is to stir frequently and gently.