20 October 2010

In Season

At Lucindaville, we featured Adam Nicholson's book on Sissinghurst. Sissinghurst was the home of his grandmother, Vita Sackville-West. In an attempt to improve revenue for the National Trust, Nicholson and his wife, Sarah Raven, proposed reviving the working farm. Sarah Raven is a gardening expert as well as the author of many cookbooks, including In Season.

Sarah Raven's book are always large, exuberant books, loaded with recipes and lovely photos. In Season follows that most fashionable trend in cookbooks, pointing out that food is better in season. While this idea seems self-evident, it is just so 2010. that being said, Raven is a great cook. She makes cooking seem effortless and fun.

Sarah Raven with daughter Rosie

Recently, I ordered some heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo. I got some cranberry beans just to make this dish.

Cranberry Beans with Sage

1 pound fresh cranberry beans (or, if using dried beans, use 1 cup soaked overnight in cold water)
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 or 4 sage leaves, chopped, plus plenty extra for garnishing
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
Dash of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
3 handfuls of arugula or young spinach leaves (optional)

Put the beans, garlic, and chopped sage into a pan, bring them to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are soft. Drain them and, while still warm, add 1 tablespoon of oil and put aside.

Meanwhile, fry the pancetta in a very little olive oil until crisp and add to the beans. Mix together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and slowly add the rest of the olive oil to give a very creamy dressing. Pour this over the still-warm beans, retaining a third of it if you are using the salad leaves. Garnish with plenty of chopped sage leaves over the top.

If using the salad leaves, dress the leaves, divide among the plates, and spoon the beans over the leaves. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Raven teaches cooking and has a garden shop at Perch Hill Farm or visit her online at Sarah Raven's Kitchen and Garden.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin