Borlotti Beans[ BUY BORLOTTI BEANS ]
Borlotti beans: Borlotti beans, also known as cranberry beans or French horticultural beans, are off-white beans with red markings. When you can find them fresh they come in large beige and red pods with colors that resemble the dried beans. In the shell the borlotti's bright colored pods make a festive table accent. The shell is inedible, but the borlotti beans inside are a culinary treat. Nutty in flavor with a creamy texture, borlotti are popular in Italian and Portuguese cusine. In fact, many of the borlotti sold in Italy are cranberry beans imported from the U.S..
Dried Borlotti beans are more readily available than fresh and have a much longer shelf life. Fresh borlotti beans should be used within a week or so, but the dried variety will keep as long as other types of dried beans. Dried borlotti can be soaked overnight and the simmered under water or stock with vegetables and or meats. When cooked the beans will lose some of their bright markings and turn a light brown color. Their meaty, chestnut flavor make borlotti a wonderful main dish and a perfect side dish. Not particularly sweet, the beans can be tossed with EVOO and your choice of spices. The next time you're feeling adventurous, but not wanting to take to big a risk, try borlotti beans! They are similar too, and can be substituted by tongues of fire beans which are very close, or you can use cannellini beans, Great Northerns or pintos. Borlotti make an excellent cold bean salad, soak and cook them as you would any other dried bean (approx. 30 minutes cooking time) and then toss them with olive oil and a little Italian salad dressing, or lemon and herbs.
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