The Anchovies give this dish a lot of it’s flavour but for me the Helda beans are the main event. I get so excited when I see something new or different on the shelves of the fruit and veg section. Helda beans must be in season as I bought them in Lidl, they often have a temporary stock of whatever’s in season, sometimes rather exotic things.
If you’re wondering what on earth Helda Beans are they’re also called Flat Beans. If you’re still lost well they’re quite like runner beans. They’re flat, stringless green beans with a smooth skin. I tell myself that I could live happily as a vegetarian. I love nothing more than unpacking the fruit and veg from the shopping. If I didn’t force myself not to I’d immediately cook it all leaving nothing for the rest of the week.
The thing is though I love my fish just as much. I was born and reared in Mauritius, an island, so I’ve been eating fish my whole life but I only tasted Anchovies for the first time less than 4 years ago on our honeymoon in Girona. I think this dish is something new, as far as I know it hasn’t been done before. Thanks to Joe there was a jar of Anchovies in the fridge.
Joe’s my brother in law, he was staying with us a little while back while he was waiting to sign contracts for his house. He brought a jar of Anchovies and left them in the fridge. Is that not a strange thing to do? It wasn’t part of a collection of stuff or anything, he just pulled a jar of Anchovies out of his pocket and put them in the fridge. I asked Thomas why Joe brought a jar of Anchovies and he just shrugged his shoulders and said ‘I don’t know, that’s just the kind of thing Joe does’. Anyway, Anchovies remind me of Girona, of happy times with lemony beers.
Helda Beans and Anchovy Stew
300g Helda beans washed and cut 1 inch
1 Onion chopped
3 Garlic Cloves crushed
2 red or green chillies roughly chopped (optional)
500g Passata (you can use fresh or canned tomatoes instead)
80g Anchovy fillet (from a jar)
Salt to tast
- Heat a wok with oil. Add the onions and cook till onions are translucent.
- Add Helda beans, garlic and chillies and cook for another 3-4 minutes
- add the passata and anchovies. Cook till beans are cooked. Do not overcook the Helda beans as they will turn an unattractive khaki colour and go soggy. I like mine crunchy and green.