Monday, February 28, 2011

Greens and Beans

I love bitter greens with beans: white bean and rapini soup, mustard greens and garbanzos, pinto beans with lamb's quarters....I think they are a great compliment to one another. Below is a recipe I really recommend from Alice Waters.

White Bean and Wilted Greens Soup
From the book Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters
Serves 6
Cook Time 2 hours
1½ cups dried cannellini or Great Northern beans
2 medium tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion
1 small carrot
3 cloves garlic
~ Olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 small piece prosciutto, with rind, or smoked bacon
6 cups chicken stock
3 tsp. salt
1 bunch (about 1 pound) spicy greens (arugula, mustard greens, or turnip greens)

12 sage leaves and fresh Parmesan cheese for garnish

Soak the beans overnight.
Peel, seed, and chop the tomatoes. Set aside.
Peel and cut the onion and carrot into small dice; peel and chop the garlic very fine. Place the onion, carrot, and garlic in a nonreactive soup pot with some olive oil and a splash of water; cook until translucent. Add the bay leaves, drained beans, and prosciutto or bacon, and cook for a few minutes more. Add the tomatoes to the beans and stew for another minute or so.
Pour in the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 1¼ hours, stirring occasionally. Add the salt after about an hour. The beans should be fully cooked, soft but not falling apart.

Add the greens, washed and cut into 1-inch strips, and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a small frying pan. Fry the sage leaves in the oil for a few seconds, a few at a time (more than a few seconds and they’ll turn black). Drain on a paper towel or absorbent cloth.

When the soup is done, ladle it into soup bowls and serve, garnished with a few shavings of Parmesan and the fried sage leaves.

I also think that peppery greens are delicious with either sweet or astringent fruits. So, arugula with Fuyu persimmons, tangerines or Fuji apples and a light vinaigrette are a favorite of mine.

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