Spring is in full swing and the need for warm spoons is covered until temperatures drop again, so it’s time to look for dishes that inspire us to eat cold beans. These beans, which my friend Pere Gomez – one of the most talented designers I know and also a great cook – made during a fun weekend with friends in a country house, seemed to me such a good option that I bought the moment without thinking, to steal his recipe (which he in turn stole from Ottolenghi, specifically from his book simple kitchenso it seems like I have a hundred years of forgiveness or something).
At Israeli chef’s Rovi Restaurant, located in Fitzrovia, a London borough near the West End, they are served with mussels or new potatoes, and as an appetizer with bread and homemade mayonnaise (in which case I would add something that provides a fresh and crunchy spice, such as diced cucumber or quartered cherry tomatoes). They can also serve as a base for a salad with green leaves, aromatic herbs and a dash of crumbled feta cheese, on top of Greek yogurt, to make a very quick spread or top off any hot or cold vegetable cream or soup.
As for beans, we can choose from home cooked, from the supermarket cold store, good quality canned or, if you live in a place where they exist, bought in bulk from the stove. If you’re wondering which ones Ottolenghi uses because you’re a fan of his and he might tell you some good gossip, we also know: El Navarrico beans fly in Rovi. If you think there is too much oil for such a small amount of beans, cook it anyway, because it is, but with what you have left you can dress pasta dishes, vegetable or legume salads, egg dishes , chicken or fish.
If you can’t find cascabel peppers, you can choose any other dry version that isn’t very spicy, like ancho, chipotle, or morita, or use just jalapenos or serranos (if you can’t find fresh peppers, you have canned ones, like marinated and toreado – tagged over high heat with soy and lemon – are my favorites).
The one to find cascabel chili (but there are alternatives).
For 4 people (as an escort)
- 4 dried cascabel chili peppers, cut in half (any chilli that is not too hot can be used as an alternative =
- 5 garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed with a knife blade
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 5 strips fine zest and 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 5 strips of fine zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 400 ml olive oil
- 500 g boiled beans
- sea salt flakes
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over high heat, ventilate the kitchen well. When the pan starts to smoke, reduce the heat to medium. Arrange the cascabel peppers, the whole garlic crushed with the flat of a knife, the jalapenos cut lengthwise (pitted if you want them less spicy), and the lime and lemon zest in the pan in the skillet.
- Cook all ingredients until they begin to blacken on some sides and give off a strong aroma, about three minutes for the skins.
- citrus fruits, four garlic peppers and a cascabel, and for about eight minutes if it’s a jalapeno, remove from the pan with tongs when they’re done.
- Fry the coriander and cumin seeds over low heat in a frying pan without oil, stirring constantly.
- Heat all ingredients, juice, in a medium saucepan over low heat.
- lime and lemon, oil and two teaspoons of salt in scales. Heat for about four minutes, or until the oil begins to bubble, and remove from heat. Using tongs or a potato masher, or a spoon, or a pestle, squeeze or crush all the ingredients so that the oil is saturated with its aroma.
- Add the beans and set aside to cool, and let them soak in the oil for at least four hours, ideally overnight (they can be stored in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator for several days).
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