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When you travel out of town for a wedding, how do you spend your spare hours? Suzen and I visit farmers markets, looking for different food ideas: regional jams, special produce, local items like spiced jerky.

We were in Raleigh, North Carolina and went to the massive — 30,000 square foot — State Farmers Market. It’s a huge shed with dozen of vendors. And, in one side building, the one dedicated mostly to jams and jellies, there was stand with a big freezer containing frozen butter beans. These beans, also known as lima beans, are one of those dishes many of us disdain. Oh, beans. No thank you.

“Stop it. You’ll like these,” Suzen poked at me. She was paying for two big bags of the frozen beans, which I put into the freezer chest in our car. We always take a freezer chest to each wedding. Just like you.

We took them back to New York City, Suzen prepared them, and she was wrong. I did not like them. I love them. These are really, really delicious. One bite and you'll know why the term "butter" is applied to them. Velvety soft. With the addition of sautéed onions, this is side dish that can pair with any main course, from fish to steak.

Suzi's Butter Beans with Sautéed Onions

Yield: Scales to your needs


  • Water
  • Salt
  • Butter beans, perhaps 8 ounces
  • Olive oil
  • Onions, I medium or 2 small


Take a medium sauce pan and fill with water. Add a smack of salt, more than a teaspoon, perhaps a tablespoon.

Add the amount of beans you want, making sure that they are covered by an inch of water. Cook over medium heat until al dente, about 20 minutes. Then drain.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet. Dice onion and add to the olive oil. When onions are nicely browned, stir in the cooked beans, stir to mix and allow to warm. Serve immediately.

Source: Suzen O’Rourke

Photo Information [both pictures]: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for1/50th second at ISO‑1250