On my trip to Sonoma County a few weeks ago, I re-discovered Santa Maria Pinquitos, a small New World bean which is delicious in flavor and creamy in consistency. I was at the Tierra Vegetables farm stand and noticed them in a big bin.
I took them home and cooked them up that night. They took very little maintenance, and I created a successful dish without much fussing. And that's really why this bean is remarkable: it tastes delicious and I really feel that it's fail-safe. It holds its consistency long after other types of beans would have broken down. And for someone like me who often gets distracted while cooking, this is a major bonus.
Santa Maria Pinquitos come from Santa Maria, California which is on the central coast about an hour north of Santa Barbara. Santa Maria is famous for its simple-style barbecue -- tri-tip or top sirloin that has been spiced (salt, pepper, garlic salt) and cooked over Santa Maria Valley red oak coals. Pinquito beans are a typical side for the meat.
Santa Maria Pinquitos have been identified by Slow Food's Ark of Taste, a program which has identified products which are in danger of becoming extinct and that taste so great that they should be saved.