Saturday, 28 May 2011

Gigantes Plaki: Greek Giant Baked Beans

You might have guessed that I've got a bit of a thing for Greek food. Gigantes are a type of Greek giant white bean, impossible to find so far North, but lima/butter beans are more than adequate for this recipe.

This would usually be made with fresh dill, but one day I couldn't find any fresh dill so decided to substitute dried dill. Use a really small bunch if you'd like to use fresh.

Gigantes Plaki
serves 2 as a main

700g gigantes or lima/butter beans, cooked (about 350g dried)
OR x 3 400g tins, drained & rinsed
500g tomato passata
2 stalks celery, diced
1 L onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
40ml/2 tbsp tomato paste
30ml/1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/2 t chili flakes
1 1/2-2 tbsp dried dill
1 S bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
150ml vegetable stock
olive oil, preferably Greek

Preheat an oven to 175°C/345°F.
Oil an oven dish approx 20 x 30cm, 6cm deep.
In a pan over med-low heat,
Sauté bay leaves, onion, garlic, celery in oil.
When onion is soft,
Add tomato paste, chili, vinegar, passata.
Stir well.
Cook 20 mins over low heat.
Add parsley, dill, stock, beans.
Stir well.
Check for seasoning.
Add to oven dish.
Cover dish with foil or lid.
Bake in oven 30 mins.
Uncover dish.
Turn up heat to 220°C/430°F.
Bake 15 mins or until top has started to dry out.
Try to remove bay leaves before serving.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Ramsons Pesto

Ramsons is a type of green leaf wild garlic, related to chives. It's generally found throughout the Northern half of Europe. It's first evidence of human use is from a mesolithic settlement in Jutland. You generally have to go foraging for it yourself if you want it fresh as it's just started to undergo a revival in recent years, but I have seen it for sale in Føtex this week.

I've heard Claus Meyer call rapeseed oil the olive oil of the North - Yes, I do know he's somewhat of a pretentious git. I don't know how much he is aware that rapeseed oil, better known as canola oil to most English speakers, is actually a Canadian product. Wild rapeseed contains the toxin erucic acid and experimentation in Canada in the 1970s produced a rapeseed that was safe for human consumption. The name Canola comes from Canadian oil, low acid. It also sounds nicer than rapeseed oil.

Tusind tak for ramsløg, Rasmus!

Ramsons Pesto
makes about 100ml

40g fresh ramsons leaves
zest of 1/2 lemon
15 whole almonds
3 tbsp/60ml rapeseed oil
sea salt
black pepper

Wash ramsons well.
Process almonds until roughly ground.
Add zest, ramsons.
Process until roughly chopped.
Add oil little by little until desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper.