Morning pick=evening's dinner

With everything blooming at the farm, this is the time of year 
when farm to table is as immediate as it can get. 
The chefs make a stop at the farm in the morning to see what they can pick, 
returning to the kitchen and start getting creative for you.
beans and tomatoes in upper quad beds
at the farm
bountiful bean beds in the Orchard
few of our 800 tomatoes!
beans ready for the chefs

This week's Plat du Jour at the girl & the fig shows off our farm bounty, 
starting with ENTREE of 
chilled garden squash soup with dill crème fraîche, espelette oil

and then following with PLAT dish:
braised pork cheeks with garden tomato ragoût, smoked romano beans, ricotta salata

We are loving the beans we have at the farm, so you just might see 
Grilled Lamb Loin, Summer Beans with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette, 
one of our favorite dishes from Plats du Jour: the girl & the fig's 
As we say in the book, "in the first week in March, 
dozens of baby lamb graze at the Benziger Winery." 
We pride ourselves on sourcing as much as we can locally, 
so there is a certain symmetry to this dish in particular, 
since the vegetables (both the fresh beans and the tomatoes 
for the vinaigrette which are dried from last year's bounty) 
are grown at our farm which is on the other 
Benziger winery property at Imagery Estate Winery.

Grilled Lamb Loin with Summer Beans
photo by Steven Krause 
Here's the recipe if you want to try it:

Grilled Lamb Loin, Summer Beans, Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
In the first week in March, dozens of baby lambs graze at the Benziger Winery. Inevitably, these lambs end up on our menus through the next few months. We are conscious of using the whole animal in our cooking, so we get creative and combine the different cuts of lamb with various cooking methods. Summer means grilling; the meat’s flavor is in its prime and the grill provides just the right amount of heat without melding the flavors.
For the lamb:
3 pounds lamb loin
1 bunch fresh rosemary, chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the beans:
1 pound haricots verts, blanched
1 pound yellow wax beans, blanched
2 pounds fresh Shelling Beans, cooked (page 313) 1 tablespoon blended oil

For the vinaigrette:
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1⁄4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, for garnish
2 tablespoons chives, cut into 1-inch pieces, for garnish
1⁄4 cup oil-cured olives, such as Nyons, pitted and cut in half, for

To prepare the marinade:
In a large pan place the lamb loin, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
To prepare the vinaigrette:
In a small bowl rehydrate the sun-dried tomatoes in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain the tomatoes, place them in a food processor, and purée with the olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare the lamb:
Preheat a grill to high. Remove the lamb loin from the marinade, removing any excess oil and the garlic. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Cook the lamb on a hot grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
To prepare the beans:
While the lamb is cooking, place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Heat the blended oil and add the beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste and heat through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss the beans with half of the vinaigrette.
To serve:
Slice the lamb into 12 portions. Place two pieces of lamb on each plate and distribute the beans evenly over the top. Garnish with the herbs and olives and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette around each plate.
Serves 6 

Some "didja knows" about beans:
"Didja know" that a pole beans can be eaten fresh when picked young, 
or leave them to dry in the shell: The beans turn glossy black 
and are great in stew and chili. (nice reminder of summer later in the year)
And "Didja know" that Dragon Tongue beans are bush beans 
that start out light green, then grow splotchy as it ripens. 
These can be eaten as snaps when 
young or shelled for hearty beans when mature.

What's a favorite recipe of yours using summer beans?

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