Friday, October 30, 2009

Borlotti Beans with Woody Herbs: A Repeat for (Our Final!) Tyler Florence Fridays & A Few Of My Favorite Tyler Recipes

This Friday is a little sad for me as it marks the official end of Tyler Florence Fridays. Almost a year ago, it began as an idea; a cooking group with the recipes of a hunky and talented chef and flexibility--being able to select the recipes we wanted to make each week and not have them selected for us. Emails went back and forth, a fearless leader (Natashya) got us organized and whipped into shape with a website and a plan and TFF was born. It has been a fun year full of good food and good friends but like all good things, it must come to an end. (Or at least be morphed into a new group, I Heart Cooking Clubs currently featuring the recipes of Nigella Lawson).

So what recipe to close this chapter with? I decided to go with a repeat performance of one of my Tyler favorites, his delicious Borlotti Beans with Woody Herbs. I first posted these in March (here) after traipsing all over for months trying to find borlotti beans before I found out they are also called cranberry beans. I loved Tyler's recipe for these creamy, homey beans and since a recent trip to the farmer's market yielded some fresh borlottis from North Shore Farms, I thought I would make it again using fresh beans instead of the canned beans Tyler calls for.

Borlotti Beans with Woody Herbs
Tyler's Ultimate, Tyler Florence
(Serves 4-6)

1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut into large chunks
1 celery stock
3 garlic cloves
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh sage sprigs
1 small fresh rosemary sprig
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cans (28 ounces each) borlotti beans
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor and pulse to chop fine. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the herbs and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the finely chopped vegetables and red pepper flakes and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the beans, bay leaves, broth, and remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes, or until the beans are flavorful. Taste for salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaves before serving the beans.

Notes/Results: As good as I remember--a perfect, comfort food dish with lots of flavor from the finely-chopped carrots, celery, onion and garlic. I cut out most of the oil as I did before and used veggie stock instead of chicken to keep the dish vegetarian, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. Using fresh beans, I wasn't sure how long to cook them and found varying times and instructions so I just kept testing them. I ended up cooking them about 45 minutes total, as I wanted them pretty soft and creamy in this dish. In addition to the herbs (local from my CSA box) cooked in the beans, I used a bit of olive oil to quick cook some more to top the beans with. I like the crisp texture it adds to the dish. A delicious dish!

Tyler and I have cooked a lot of delicious dishes together this past year--in fact there were only a couple "clunker" recipes for me that I just didn't like. I look forward to cooking more of his recipes now and then, even without motivation from TFF. So which recipes did I enjoy the most? If I had to pick a few in addition to my beloved Borlotti Beans with Woody Herbs above, these five would be my all-time favorites.

Zucchini Carpaccio: I posted this once before TFF started (here), then repeated it this past May and I make it all the time for an easy lunch or side dish for dinner. The paper-thin zucchini slices soak up the olive oil, salt and pepper, the herbs add a fresh flavor and the creamy ricotta brings it all together. It also looks stunning on the plate, making it a great dish for company too.

Saltimbocca: Another recipe I just had to repeat (I also made it here), because it was so darn delicious for being so incredibly easy. Veal cutlets pounded thin, crispy prosciutto and sage in a lemony sauce and it was on the table in way under 30 minutes--what's not to love?!

Salmon Potato Hash: The ultimate comfort food; roasted salmon, poached egg, crispy potatoes and a creamy, lemony sauce, this one even survived my lightening it up and taking the butter out. Great for brunch or a light dinner and better than the hash at my favorite breakfast spot.

Chicken Paillard with Fresh Fig Salad and Blue Cheese: This is one gorgeous salad--both in taste and on the plate. I was able to use fresh, local figs and the combination of their sweetness, along with the honey, the peppery arugula, sharp blue cheese and savory chicken was amazing. It was only helped along to its favorite status by being chosen as a TFF featured dish and being shown on Tyler Florence's blog. ;-)

Sauteed Feta Cheese with Parsley, Raisin, Caper & Pine Nut Sauce: One of my early Tyler recipes and still a favorite as it fills my need for a salty-cheesy fix. The combination of ingredients may seem unusual but the flavors work really well together and when the cheese is spread on a good crusty baguette or served on top of salad greens it is sublime.

Those are my favorites--so hard to choose just a few dishes as there have been so many Tyler recipes I really have enjoyed!

Mahalo to Natashya, and Megan and to all of the great friends who joined us at Tyler Florence Fridays, either popping in from time to time or coming by regularly. (I hope you all come join us at IHCC). You can check out the final TFF round-up here.

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. I am so sad to see TFF end but at least it will do so with a bang. Thank you guys so much for organizing definitely exposed me to some new cooking techniques and forced me to think outside my little box. This recipe that you've made is one that I will get to eventually. I love how simple the flavors in it seem, and yet it's a Tyler recipe, so I know it's delicious.

  2. I love your recap of your TFF faves. We have definitely had some fun, and I agree - very few fails.
    The borlotti beans do look creamy and savoury - I will have to give them a try.. now that I know they are also called cranberry beans!
    The photos are so pretty with the blue background.

  3. Fresh borlotti beans sounds amazing! I loved reading about your five Tyler favorites. I can see why you chose each one of them. This is a great dish to end TFF with. I'm so happy we have IHCC or I would be really sad today.

  4. Deb, a great selection of the "best of Tyler"! The soup sounds like a very hearty meal for those days when I have been out and want something warm & gratifying. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful recipes.

  5. It's impressive that to see a group so passionate and dedicated to cooking. I've enjoyed reading TFF, and while this is coming to an end, I look forward to all the exciting things brewing on your individual blogs.

  6. The beans sound yummy and it was nice to see some of your favorite Tyler recipes!

  7. They all look wonderful. I can see why they were your favorites.

  8. Great write-up, Deb - and it's been quite a delicious year! I've certainly made some new favorites - I wish I'd done a recap, too.

  9. I love your summary of "best" Tyler recipes, complete with photos! The borlotti beans intrigue me the most. I love beans and love woody herbs, so what's not to love??! Thanks for a very fun year.

  10. sad to see TFF over. You have some pretty awesome recipes here because of it, don't you :)

  11. Oh yum, that dish looks great. I would love to have access to fresh beans but we don't. They look lovely, right? And another great recipes on one post. You're making me hungry now. :)

  12. It was a good time and I thank you for letting me be part of it.


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