I’m betting you’ve never had a bean gratin before, so I am appointing myself chief PR agent for bean gratins, in particular this Harvest Shell Bean Gratin with Bacon, Corn and Roasted Tomatoes. Think of it as cassoulet’s distant cousin, only much quicker to make, with less charcuterie to track down. Or think of it as a great destination for late summer veggies, with all the things you love about a delicious gratin – especially the bread crumb-Parmigiano topping. And definitely think of it as supper. It’s filling and it’s thrifty — which is a mighty fine thing with food prices these days.

Susie Middleton

I developed this recipe for my column (The Bean Goes On) in the September edition of Martha’s Vineyard magazine, mainly because this is the time of year I harvest shell beans — though you can use any dried bean in the gratin. I eat some of the shell beans freshly shucked when they still retain some moisture. The rest I dry and store in glass jars.

Some shell beans, like my beloved Rattlesnakes, do double-duty as both fresh green beans when young and plump shelled beans later on. At the end of the garden season, when I can’t pick fast enough, I just let the pods plump up so that I can shell them and harvest the goodies inside.

Susie Middleton

Other shell beans, like beautiful pink speckled cranberry beans, can also be eaten as very young green (broad) beans, but the freshly shelled beans are the real treat. If you grow these, be sure to shell some of the pods while they are still bright pink (they turn whiter as they age and then brown as they dry). The beans inside will be perfect for cooking fresh. Poach or simmer until tender, about 20 minutes, and drizzle with olive oil and lemon. Serve over arugula.

Susie Middleton

Freshly cooked cranberry beans are also delicious when blended with Garlic Roasted in Oil to make a dip...

Susie Middleton

...like this Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip with Homemade Pita Crisps.

Susie Middleton

If you’re not harvesting and drying your own shell beans, no worries of course. Search out good-quality dried beans from Rancho Gordo or Maine Grains. Grey Barn and Morning Glory occasionally stock beans from Maine Grains. For the gratin, I like a red or brown bean of a decent size, as opposed to a black bean or small white bean.

Don’t use canned beans in the gratin; you want the firmer texture of ones you have cooked yourself. However, because we love beans in all their forms (and we love convenience), I wanted to remind you to stock up on canned beans, too, and use them in Harvest Minestrone.

Susie Middleton

Or in Garlicky Great Northern Beans and Broccoli Raab over Toast. Just don’t tell Joe Yonan I said it was okay to use canned beans in that recipe! (If you need more bean inspiration, check out his amazing book, Cool Beans.)

Aubrie Pick

Or use your beans in Stuck-At-Home Bean Chili, Your Way.

Susie Middleton

I think Abby Dodge’s Lemon Rosemary Parmesan Scones would go great with that.

Susie Middleton

Hey, there’s no beans about it – the first winter squash have arrived in Island farm markets. I’m seeing mostly delicata at this point. They remind me to make myself healthier lunches to take to work, like this Roasted Squash and Farro Salad with Fall Greens, Cranberries, and Nuts with Double Lemon Tahini Dressing.

Susie Middleton

If I have that for lunch, it means I can also have Chewy Oatmeal, Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert, right?!

Susie Middleton

Cool beans! We’ll see you on Instagram @cookthevineyard. Be sure to follow us if you haven't already.

P.S. If you've ever wanted to make Beach Plum Liqueur or forage for wild cranberries or autumn olives on the Island, you'll want to check out Catherine Walther's recipe and read her latest feature in Martha's Vineyard magazine, Local Liqueur.

Elizabeth Cecil

What's Open on Martha's Vineyard

With the change of seasons, some markets and restaurants are shortening hours. To keep abreast of changes and to see a complete list of what's open, including hours, websites, and contact numbers, visit What's Open on Martha's Vineyard.


· Morning Glory Farm’s food wagon is holding an Oktoberfest pop-up on Saturday, October 1 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The menu will feature bratwursts, meatloaf, potato pancakes, schnitzel sandwiches, soft pretzels, apple streudel and more.


· Kids Can Cook classes continue at the FARM Institute this Saturday, October 1 at 1 p.m. Ages 6 and up. Pre-registration required.


· The last Fantzye Bagels of the season will be available for pickup at the West Tisbury Farmers' Market this Saturday, October 1, starting at 9 a.m. Pre-order here.