Facebook   Twitter   Instagram
Current Issue   Archive   Donate and Support    

Challenging Elements: Pinto Beans


“Pinto Beans?” Corey Buck mutters. I’ve just told him this month’s secret ingredient. Silence follows. It turns out this truly is a challenge. Buck, who owns John’s Restaurant on East Pearl Street in Downtown Boulder, can’t remember a time that he’s ever used pinto beans in cooking. The Yellow Scene Magazine has backed him into a corner.Undeterred, he developed a meal, Pinto Bean and Shrimp Salad, in less than 24 hours that will stay on his menu throughout March.

In early March, there are few locally grown produce options—pinto beans, however, are abundant this time of year. These beans are traditionally used in chili and Mexican dishes, meals not found at John’s, which has a seasonal American menu with European influences.

“I tried not to do something Mexican,” says Buck, who’s owned the intimate, off-the-beaten track eatery for five years. Buck ended up making a dish with a hint of Hispanic flair and a style
uniquely his. “I was looking to do something totally different—pinto beans forced me to.”

Using the beans as a base, Buck and sous chef Kyle Marston devised a simple, creative appetizer. They start it with a bed of pinto beans, soaked overnight then cooked in calm juice, vegetable stock and garlic before being seasoned with salt and pepper. Pickled jalapeños and red onions, and roasted red, yellow and orange peppers are mixed in, giving the dish a sweet and sour taste with a hint of Mexican flavor you’d expect from a pinto bean-inspired dish.

Two, giant grilled pieces of shrimp are added before the whole dish is topped with lime sour cream, cilantro micro greens and a dash of cilantro oil. The dish is striking, with the appetizing shrimp stealing the limelight. We aren’t able to taste it in its entirety—the pickling process takes days, not 24 hours—yet Buck is confident it’ll be popular.

Taste it for yourself at John’s Restaurant, 2328 Pearl St. For reservations or info, call 303.444.4532 or visit www.johnsrestaurantboulder.com.

Leave a Reply