To Chef George Ennis, cooking is like making a movie — and beans are part of his cast. Sometimes they take center stage. Sometimes they’re in a background role. But they’re always part of the ensemble because they’re versatile and hearty.
In the grilled fish dish below, Chef George uses orca beans. (Get it?) You can substitute large lima beans (butter beans), navy beans, or cannellini beans if you can’t find orca beans.
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Grilled Branzini, Artichoke Heart, Orca Beans,
Inca Red Drop Pepper and Mixed Olive Salad
1 whole Branzini (gutted and scaled)
1 cup Orca beans
2 ounces Pancetta
1/2 Yellow onion (sliced)
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 pint Chicken stock
2 Lemons (halved)
1 Artichoke (cleaned, leaves trimmed, soaked in lemon water)
1 cup Mixed olives (of your choice, sliced into quarters)
1/4 cup Inca red drop peppers (or whatever marinated peppers you like.)
1 Shallot (1/2 minced and 1/2 whole)
1/2 bunch Parsley
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1. Soak beans overnight.
2. In a pot, add beans, chicken stock, onion and garlic.
3. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.
4. Cook beans for approximately 60-90 minutes or until done. Check them at 50 minutes.
5. Simmer artichokes in water for 20-40 minutes, or until knife tender. Cut artichoke in half and remove leaves and the fuzzy choke part covering the heart. Set heart aside.
6. Fire up your grill.
7. Clean and season your grill.
8. Cook pancetta until crispy and chop up fine. Reserve the pancetta fat.
9. Mix together cooked beans, olives, peppers, minced shallot,pancetta and chopped parsley.
10. Add 1 tablespoon pancetta fat, olive oil, and the juice of 1/2 lemon,to bean/olive mix, and toss. Season accordingly.
11. Stuff whole fish with remaining unsliced shallot, sliced lemon, and whole parsley stems.
12. Rub fish down with cooking oil and season.
13. Coat the artichokes and lemon with some oil before grilling.
14. Grill fish over the hot coals for about 5-7 minutes per side or until done, making sure you get nice browned skin.
15. Grill artichokes and lemon until nicely marked.
16. Plate fish and bean salad and serve.
Grilling the fish.