Warm Cranberry Beans with Arugula and Fresh Marjoram

Contributed by Megan Saynisch, from the Real Food Right Now series.

I love the combination of peppery arugula, floral marjoram and meaty, nutty cranberry beans. That being said, this recipe has an almost infinite amount of variations. Substitute parsley or another herb for the marjoram. Substitute spinach for the arugula. Add a squashed anchovy to the lemony dressing. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Stir in some drained, olive oil packed tuna or chopped tomatoes. (And if you've only ever had arugula raw, try it like this, wilted in warm beans or in pasta. Its peppery kick remains, but it becomes meltingly soft and delicious.)

1 cup freshly shelled cranberry beans
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
The juice of 12 a lemon
1 tsp chopped fresh marjoram
12 cup baby arugula leaves
Red chile flakes (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the beans, garlic clove and bay leaf in a medium, heavy pot and cover with water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes, or until the beans are tender. (Note: do not salt the water.)

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Drain the beans. Add the still-hot beans to the olive oil mixture. Gently toss the beans in the dressing.

Taste and correct for salt — you will probably need to add a bit more salt at this point. Add the fresh marjoram, the baby arugula leaves, the optional chile flakes and a few grindings of black pepper. Stir very gently to combine. Serve warm.

Serves 3-4 as an appetizer or side dish.

Learn more about fresh shell beans in Megan’s full post on Ecocentric Blog.