In this weeks share we have Borlotti Beans. Many of you ask what to do with the more unusual items in the share so here are a few suggestions and ways to prepare….
Similar to kidney beans, borlotti beans are especially popular in Italy but originally came from the New World. The fresh pods are attractively flecked with reddy pink and yellow while inside the beans are a stripy red.
It was the case that UK shoppers could only find borlotti dry or canned, in which case their colour is darker and more uniform, but the prettier semi-dried and fresh ones are becoming more readily available and are a great addition to a vegetable patch.
Borlotti feature prominently in the cooking of central and northern Italy and are authentically used for soups including minestrone, pasta e fagioli, and panissa.
They are delicious simply boiled until tender and drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Add salt after cooking or the beans will toughen.
Jamie Oliver Humble Home cooked Beans
- 11 oz fresh borlotti beans
- 3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- A sprig of fresh rosemary
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 stick of celery, trimmed
- 1 small potato, peeled and halved
- 2 cherry tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- A few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 4 slices of sourdough bread
Place your fresh beans in a deep pot and cover them with cold water. Throw in your garlic, herb sprigs, bay leaves, celery stick, potato and tomatoes. Place the beans on the heat and slowly bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer very gently for 45 minutes until soft and cooked nicely. Skim if necessary, topping up with boiling water from the kettle if you need to.
When the beans are cooked, drain them in a colander, reserving enough of the cooking water to cover them halfway up when put back in the pot. Remove the garlic, herbs, celery, potato and tomatoes from the beans. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and pinch the skin off the tomatoes. Put the garlic, tomatoes and potato on to a plate, mash them with a fork and stir back into the beans. Season well with salt and pepper, and pour in three generous glugs of extra virgin olive oil and a few splashes of vinegar. Stir in the parsley and serve on some toasted sourdough bread.
Four ways to serve your humble home-cooked beans:
Creamy beans with fresh crab and chili
Mix some lovely cold, picked crabmeat with a little chopped fresh chili and some picked fennel tops. Spoon the warm home-cooked beans on to a plate and top with the crab mixture.
Crispy red mullet with beans
Get yourself 1 or 2 red mullet fillets. Season them with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and fry in a glug of olive oil on a medium heat for a couple of minutes on each side. Chop a handful of rocket and stir it into your warm home-cooked beans with a little lemon zest and some extra virgin olive oil. Spoon the beans on to a plate, top with the perfectly cooked red mullet fillets and sprinkle over some smoked paprika.
Warm salad of beans and bread
Toast 2 slices of good-quality bread and tear them into rough chunks. Place in a bowl with a handful of chopped tomatoes, some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a swig of good balsamic vinegar. Spoon some of your warm home-cooked beans on to a plate, followed by the bread and tomato mixture. Serve topped with a slice or two of prosciutto and some baby basil leaves.
Beans with scallops and pancetta
Take up to 3 scallops and wrap a slice of pancetta round each one. Thread them on to a skewer or a sturdy sprig of fresh rosemary and fry them on each side in a little olive oil until golden. Spoon your delicious warm home-cooked beans on to your plate and top with the scallops. Serve with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and any juices from the pan. Brilliant!
Chicken breasts with tapenade, borlotti beans and peppers
1 large onion, finely sliced
3 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 small red pepper, sliced
1 small yellow pepper, sliced
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
100 ml water, plus extra if needed
200g canned borlotti beans, drained
salt, and freshly ground pepper
2 chicken breast fillets, (the best your budget will allow)
grated zest and juice of 1 lemons
8 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked from the stalks
For the tapenade:
100 g black olives, stones removed
1 tbsp capers, rinsed
1 clove garlic, crushed
60ml olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.
2. Place the onion, garlic, red and yellow peppers in a casserole dish.
3. Add in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the water. Cover and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. If they start to stick at all, just add in a little more water.
4. Stir in the borlotti beans and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper.
5. Slice the chicken breast fillets down the centre lengthways, but not all the way through. Open them out so that you have one large flat piece from each fillet. Season them with the remaining olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.
6. Put the chicken on top of the borlotti bean mixture and transfer the casserole to the oven to cook for 10-12 minutes.
7. While the chicken is cooking make the tapenade. In a food processor, blend together the olives, capers, garlic and olive oil to a rough paste. Set aside.
8. Once the chicken is cooked, spread each portion with the tapenade, sprinkle over the lemon zest and juice and thyme and serve at once with the borlotti bean mixture.