From The Kitchen: Cool Beans (Under Pressure)

By Executive Chef Justin Wangler 
In: Recipes

One of my favorite things to do these days is to wake up early Saturday morning and head out to the Santa Rosa Farmer’s Market with my wife and 2-year old daughter.  It is always fun to enjoy the music, see all the fresh produce, smell the delicious food and taste the local seafood and artisan cheeses.  My wife loves to check out the beautiful flowers and enjoy the fresh made burrata cheese.  It seems like it is really the place to go for folks with young kids; and I always enjoy getting to catch up with the many friends, farmers, chefs and artisan producers who attend as well.

Recently I was shopping for dried heirloom beans at the Tierra Vegetables stand and I met a woman who said she cooks her dried beans in a pressure cooker in just 15 minutes.  I went right out and bought a pressure cooker and have been testing it ever since.  I’ve decided that the beans cooked in a pressure cooker are good, but not as good as when you soak them overnight and cook them slowly over low heat.  While the pressure cooker is convenient and fast, the consistency in the texture of the beans is better with the traditional cooking method.

Below is my recipe for a wonderful salad using both fresh fava beans and dried heirloom beans.  (Some of my favorite heirloom bean varieties are: Mrs. Keeney’s Pinks, Bolita and Rio Zape.)

Frisée & Two Bean Salad
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Summation
Serves 4


  • 1 cup dried heirloom beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 carrot
  • ½ onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1½ tsp., plus 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup fresh fava beans
  • 5 sun-dried tomato halves, re-hydrated in hot water for 1 minute and julienne
  • 1½ tsp. preserved lemon, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Kendall-Jackson extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 head frisée lettuce, green tips removed and washed
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pick through the beans and remove any rocks.  Rinse with cold water.  Place beans in a bowl and cover with 3 cups of water.  Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Drain beans and rinse.  Place beans in a small pot with 2 cups of water, olive oil, carrot, onion and celery.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 1 hour or until tender.  Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt.  Allow to cool in liquid and remove the carrot, onion and celery.  Beans may be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  3. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil.
  4. While the water is coming to a boil, clean the fava beans from their pods.  Clean by gently pinching one end of the pod so the fava bean pops out of the other end.
  5. Add fava beans to boiling water and cook for 1 minute.  Immediately drain and cool in ice water.  As soon as the fava beans are cold remove from the ice water.  Remove the outer skin revealing the inner bright green bean.
  6. In a large bowl, toss 1 cup of the reserved cooked beans with the remaining ingredients.  Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.