The "monget", one of the best beans in the world
Do you know the "mongets"?
A "monget" is, besides the name of a town of 80 inhabitants in the French Atlantic Pyrenees, one of the most beloved agricultural varieties in the Empordà. At least in our home it is the one who heads the top ten of legumes and without detracting from the other legumes we can certify that, at least, it has been grown intermittently for more than 70 years and three generations.
Appreciated for its fine texture and easy digestion, they are usually eaten boiled or accompanied by potatoes or all kinds of meat with a drizzle of olive oil or alioli. Green pods can also be eaten as if they were tender beans. Even the most contemporary gastronomy, which has also exploited its ideal applications in hummus preparations.
Its characteristics mean that harvested by hand and with virtually non-existent mechanization, its production is mainly on a small scale. The fact that the crumbs have to be harvested as the seed dries and not all at once, like other legumes, makes it a commercially unattractive fruit. It is sown around the 15th of May (Sant Isidre) and harvested at the end of August, by the green bean, or by September, if it is to be consumed dry.
The "monget" is, like the prawn of Palamós, the onion of Figueres or the rice of Pals, one of the 8 products included in the guarantee mark "Productes de l'Empordà" a certificate created in September 2003. The recognition went to do so with the aim of recognizing the Empordà's own products and helping to promote their marketing with the support of the producers and the county councils of the Alt and Baix Empordà.
A good tip to try the bean is without a doubt to pack your bags and come and spend a few days in the Empordà, where you can see firsthand how local producers, like us, grow it and buy it in specialist shops, fairs, and weekly markets. With a little luck, it’s also a joy to savor them cooked by a local restaurant well paired with a glass of good wine.
As most of the local products that surround us, their destinations are full of history and, despite having a consumption rooted in the Empordà, their origins go back to Africa where it was the Romans who brought them home. ours for the first time.
The "mongets" are also known in other Catalan areas as "mongets de l'ull ros" (blond eye beans), "banyolina" beans, "caragirats" or "escurçatites". And above all, it should never be confused with the "mongets d'ull negre" (black-eyed bean), which is easier to find, cheaper and less appreciated in the kitchen. For all this, and surely more than we leave, whenever we eat "mongets" at home, which luckily is quite often, let’s say we make “a big party food”.