Rachel Roddy’s recipe for summer beans three ways | A Kitchen in Rome – AuthenticAfrican

Posted on by Rachel Roddy

Just three of the many ways you can enjoy these white beans are: in a sea-salty clam broth, in a tuna and onion picnic treat, and in a courgette salad with lemon and herbs

The problem with dried beans is remembering to soak them. It is an oversight that is easily resolved, thanks to beans in tins, but the problem with those is that you don’t score the cooking water – the cloudy, sort-of-broth that is not so much flavoured as it is bean-tinted, and slightly thickened with starch that has leeched from the beans as they cook. For many recipes, this cooking water is as much an ingredient as the beans themselves, giving starchy substance and a leg-up in gentle flavour. Of course, you can always find a way if you do use tins, but it is never quite the same as that cloudy bonus.

Despite having left a packet of beans in clear sight, I ignored them for two days, only remembering on the third when I tried to put a dish on top of them. We are still in Sicily, in what was my partner’s grandparents’ house: a time capsule where furniture, photos, utensils, farming equipment in the garage, hollows in the terrazzo flooring and Martini from 1979 feel like portals into another time. Thankfully the water is back on, meaning it arrives in our side of the city every two days, seeping through the cracks in the road so we know to turn the motor on, which sucks 1,000 litres through the pipe that runs like a vein up the side of the house into a tank on the roof, noisily. The two long disruptions in the water supply this summer have turned me into a calculator: one and a half litres to soak the beans, one and a half more to cook them.

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