fagiolli

Beans with basil and parsley

This recipe comes from a book I bought in Naples. I could not find a single reference to it anywhere. It has no ISBN and the name of the author is missing. I got it from a street vendor selling all kinds of odd stuff. Very napolitean.

The recipe is very simple. As always, use the best ingredients you can find to let the flavors shine.

Ingredientes:
* A medium onion, finely chopped
* Half a stalk of celery, finely chopped
* A handfull of basil leaves, finely chopped
* A handfull of parsley, finely chopped
* 4-5 cups of boiled beans
* Olive oil
* Salt and pepper

1. Gently fry everthing but the beans until the onion is translucent.
2. Add beans, stir and cook briefly.
3. If you have stale bread, put a slice on each plate and cover with the beans.

Spanish Fabada Recipe

Spanish Fabada

A truly one pot wonder and easy recipe from the Northern Spanish region of Asturias.

  • Butter beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 chorizo
  • 1 blood pudding
  • 1 piece of salted pork belly, soaked overnight
  1. Put beans in the pot and add enough water to cover them by two fingers. Boil for one and a half hour and keep a relaxed eye on the beans to add some cold water if they need more to be covered (not by two fingers now, but just covered).
  2. Prick the chorizo and blood pudding and add to the pot along with the salted pork. Cook until beans are tender.
  3. Add salt to taste and save for tomorrow. It will improve.

Tips&Tricks:

  • Blood pudding must contain onions to achieve the authentic Asturian flavor.
  • Use Spanish chorizo or Portuguese chouriço.
  • Eat the next day. This should be mandatory.

It freezes well.

An Ugly Fish Soup

An Ugly Fish Soup

The original recipe calls for sturgeon, a fish I cannot find where I live. At first monkfish was the substitute of choice because of its robust texture but then I saw a conger eel that looked perfect.

Nature has been kind enough to give ugly fishes fantastic flavor. Lamprey, monkish, scorpion fish and conger eel are delicious and among my favorite. Sturgeon must follow this rule for sure. So while at the fishmonger, aim for the grotesque.

  • Four pieces of ugly fish
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 10 allspice peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • a generous bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Chilli powder
  1. Bring 3 liters of to a rolling boil and add onions, allspice, bay leaves, parsley and salt. Boil for 30 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste, chilli and fish and cook for another 30 minutes.
  3. Whisk egg yolk and flour. Add 1/4 cup of cooking broth. Remove pot from heat and egg and flour mixture, stirring until the soup thickens and serve.
Spanish Lentils with Chorizo Recipe

Spanish Lentils with Chorizo

I love pulses despite the side-effects. This thick soup is so good I cannot stop eating it. If this happens to you, be ready for a lonely walk in the woods where you can fart in peace with the world.

  • Two cups of lentils
  • 1 or 2 Spanish chorizos
  • An onion, finely chopped
  • Two garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Olive oil
  1. Put everything but chorizo in the pot. Add enough water two cover lentils by two finger and boil gently until the lentils are tender.
  2. Add slized chorizo and cook for 10 minutes. Serve.

Tips&Tricks:

  • It tastes much better the day after.
  • I like mine mixed with steamed rice and a dash of vinegar.
  • It freezes very well, but after reheating it resembles more of a purée.
Rabbit and Rice recope

Rabbit and Rice

This dish celebrates the fact that rabbit and rice were created for each other. Aim for a soupy consistency, the one that makes you doubt about using a fork.

  • A rabbit, cut in smallish pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 3 cups of water or chicken broth
  1. Sauté rabbit, onion and garlic in a generous amount of olive or vegetable oil over medium heat until you get a brown layer sticked to the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat and keep cooking until it darkens a bit more.
  2. Add half a cup of water or broth and you’ll witness a marvelous transformation as the layer disappears and gives way to a brown sauce that makes rabbit look much more appetizing.
  3. Let it reduce, add rice and stir well.
  4. Add water or broth and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Cover with a lid and let rest. Check every five minutes for the desired consistency. Serve.
Bean Soup from Naples

Napolitean Bean Soup

I loved Naples. It is a filthy, noise city that lives perpetually in a chaos that keeps your senses awake all day long.

I bought a book on a street market that seemed a collection of home recipes put together by a housewife with the help of someone with basic word processing knowledge.  Its contents, though, are fascinating. This recipe comes from the book.

  • Butter beans
  • Chopped Garlic
  • Chopped parsley
  • Chopped basil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  1. Soak beans overnight.
  2. Next morning, boil beans until tender. This might take from 1.5 hours to 2.5, depending on water hardness and beans.
  3. When tender, add parsley, basil, garlic, olive oil and salt. Cook for another 10 minutes.

If there is stale bread, toast it slightly, and pour soup over.

It freezes well.

Tips&Tricks: if you can get fresh butter beans, you should definitively try this dish with them.

Salted cod with chickpeas

Salted Cod with Chickpeas

I know salted cod is an acquired taste, but it’s well worth the effort of learning to love it. When, as a kid, I was asked what foods I didn’t like I would answer “everything but salted cod”. Not anymore.

If you cannot find good salted cod, do it yourself.

  • 500g chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • A small onion, chopped
  • 500g  salted cod, soaked overnight
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • Bay leaf
  • Olive oil
  1. Gently sauté the onions with some olive oil.
  2. Add drained chickpeas and gently boil until tender. Do not use much water and add a bit more if necessary. You can either make a soup or a stew, depending on the amount of water you use. I like it on the soup side because salted cod skin has so much gelatin you’ll end up with a silky broth to die for.
  3. Add paprika and a good splash of olive oil.
  4. Add cod, cover the pot and turn off the heat.
  5. Serve.

I’ve just had three serving of this soupy stew today for lunch. My wife, two. I was going to freeze some, but I guess I will have to start over…

Kind of a minestrone

Beans and Vegetables Soup

Use seasonal vegetables and you’ll be making this over and over. The list I suggest is based on what I used last time, but it can vary.

  • 2 carrots
  • Half a stack of celery
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 leek
  • 2 cups of sliced cabbage
  • 1 small can of chopped tomatoes
  • Kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • A chunk of prosciutto (optional)
  • A piece of salted pork belly, soaked overnight (overnight)
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper
  1. Use the same pot to soak the salted pork belly, prosciutto and kidney beans.
  2. The next day, drained them, add again water and boil until beans are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the vegetable in pieces (I like mine cut up quite small so I get a bit of everything with each spoonful).
  4. Finish the soup cutting the meat in small pieces and returning to the pan, adding vegetables, tomato, a good splash of olive oil and pepper. Add salt, if needed. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  5. Serve with croutons.

I like to add a little red wine to my bowl of soup. You should try it at least once in your life.