One of my vices is Baltimore's Daedelus Books which sells discounted new and remaindered books. It's amazing how many books that I've lusted over in the last few years can be found here for a fraction of their original price -- often no more than the cost of an issue of a cooking magazine. And just in case that weren't enough for me, it's also right next door to a Vietnamese restaurant. Cheap books and Vietnamese food, my idea of a perfect setup.
On my last visit there I picked up a copy of Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Good Health by Nina Simonds because this is the time of year when my thoughts turn to healthier living (a constant theme of mine -- although I notice it's never in an I'm-doing-it way but rather in an I-should-be-doing-it way). It was also the Sunday after Thanksgiving and after three days of eating heavy meals, plus pie for breakfast, the idea of a meal of greens and grains (my standard stereotype of the healthy meal) was looking suddenly appealing.
I can't say the book has inspired me but there was a recipe for boiled edamame with salt which reminded me that this is something that seems to have fallen off my radar. I used to make it all the time but for reasons I'm unable to put my finger on, I haven't made it for ages. How did this happen?
Edamame is one of those rare instances of a snack food that is as appealing as potato chips but actually turns out to have nutritional value -- a fairly rare occurrence in my experience.
It's possible to buy fresh edamame in the summer -- I sometimes see it at the farmers' market -- but frozen edamame in the pod is always available. The only trick to cooking these as far as I've found is to make sure you're using an adequate amount of salt. Edamame without the salt doesn't hold much appeal. I salt the water I'm cooking them in and then sprinkle coarsely ground sea salt over them. It may seem like an excessive amount of salt but the majority of it is not coming into direct contact with the beans, only the pods. I should note that Nina Simonds' recipe uses a teaspoon of salt in the water, and only a teaspoon of salt after they've been drained. I don't think that's enough but if you're hesitant about the amount of salt, you might start there.
For 1 pound of edamame, frozen and in the pod, bring water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt, then the edamame and cook for four to five minutes. Drain the edamame, then dump them on a kitchen towel and blot them dry. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of coarsely ground sea salt and serve. And in the event you've never had edamame before, eat them with your fingers, popping the beans out of the pod and directly into your mouth. (It's good to have a second bowl to toss the empty pods in.)
Couldn't be easier and they really are good. Just the sort of thing I need to keep in mind for the eating season we're right in the midst of.