Veal, beans and vanilla ... sounds odd but tastes good. These beans go well with other, more fatty meat too, especially duck and pork. You will need to start this the day before if you’re going to make the bean stew from scratch or you could use cooked beans to speed it up considerably.
Place beans in a large deep saucepan and add at least six times their volume in cold water. Leave overnight in a cool place. Next day, bring to the boil then drain and discard water. Add fresh water to cover them by
Place oil and half the butter in a pot and place over a moderate heat. When butter begins to sizzle add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are soft and slightly coloured. Add vanilla bean and bayleaf and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return beans to pot. Add wine and enough hot water to barely cover. Bring to the boil, cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover, season with salt and pepper and cook until liquid has reduced a third.
Season cutlets with salt and pepper and baste with a little olive oil. Cook over a barbecue or under a grill. Once they’re ready (they should be pink and juicy on the inside), take off the heat and keep warm, covered lightly with a little foil.
Heat up a large pan, add the remaining butter and, once it stops sizzling, add tomatoes. Cook over a high heat 1 minute, stirring well. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until it wilts slightly. Season with salt. To serve, place some spinach on a plate, lay three to four chops on top and spoon over beans.
© 2003 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.