How to Cook Dragon's Tongue Beans

Green beans

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Cook dragon tongue beans, a type of Dutch wax bean, like any fresh green or snap bean. Buy young, recently harvested beans, picked while the actual beans are immature, and cook the entire pod. Showy dragon tongue beans, streaked with irregular dark red colors that fade during cooking, can be used in any green bean recipe, such as steamed or sauteed beans. With fresh beans, simple works well. You can serve them topped with butter and salt and pepper. Also consider adding herbs, sauteed garlic or cured meats.

Steamed Beans

Prepare the dragon tongue beans by snapping off both ends. Line up young beans of uniform length on the cutting board and chop off the ends with a sharp knife. If your beans are small, cook them whole. Cut longer beans into smaller pieces, such as halves or quarters.

Bring a large pan of water to boil. Drop the beans into a full pot of salted, boiling water.

Use tongs to pull out a bean after two or three minutes for testing. You want beans to be tender, but you want to stop cooking them before they become mushy.

Remove the beans, once tender, from the water. Season with butter or olive oil, sauteed garlic, salt and pepper, or try adding cured meats such as bacon or prosciutto. You can also toss the beans in a vinaigrette or lemon juice.

Sauteed Beans

Wash the beans thoroughly and trim off both ends. Leave the beans whole or cut large ones into smaller pieces. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Plunge the beans into the water and cook for three minutes. Drain the beans and rinse under cold water.

Place 2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the beans and cook until they are thoroughly heated and, if desired, slightly browned, about three or four minutes. You can season the beans with salt and pepper and, optionally, red pepper flakes or crisped bacon.

Seasonings for sauteed dragon tongue beans can also be more elaborate. Before adding the beans to the hot oil, sautee scallions, garlic, water chestnuts and ginger. Stir several times and watch for the garlic to turn brown. Once it does, add the beans and cook for three minutes. Toss in warm soy sauce and sesame oil. You can also season sauteed beans with your favorite vinaigrette, flavored with herbs.