Butter beans are among the farmer’s market treasures of late summer in Charleston—reason to wake up with gusto to another day of stultifying heat and oxford-soaking humidity. This simple treatment is one of the most satisfying. Butter beans come in many varieties, and sizes, but the small green ones are best for this recipe (though you may use frozen baby lima beans if butter beans aren’t in season).
6 cups fresh shelled butter beans or frozen baby lima beans
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Juice of 2 large limes
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. grated lime zest, for garnish
In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups of water and 1 Tbs. salt to a boil over high heat. Add the butter beans and cook until tender, 9 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of the beans. Drain in a colander, and shake the colander several times to shed as much water from the beans as possible.
Put the butter in a large serving bowl, and pour the warm butter beans on top. Toss the beans with the butter until all the butter is melted. Add the lime juice and toss again to distribute. Fold in the mint, season with salt and black pepper, and scatter lime zest over the top. Serve immediately.