Posts Tagged ‘annibale The Bean Eater’


These little pearls are half the size of their better known cousins, cannellini beans, but are cooked the same way.

These were a gift from Polly Wessel–a “Braveheart” (a cooking workshop alumni) last year–kindly brought from Rome.

They have sat on the shelf patiently waiting. Now they are in the spotlight–and I’m appreciating them.

They are called Fagioli del Purgatorio and come from Gradoli–a town 60 miles north west of Rome in Lazio.

Traditionally served at lunch on Ash Wednesday (today), which marks the beginning of Lent in the Christian calendar–a time to purge one’s sins by giving up something one enjoys.

(I remember dreading it as a child in the fifties! No chocolate and or sweets for seven weeks–purgatory!)

One definition of PURGATORY has it as

“…a temporary condition of torment or suffering.” *

When it comes to eating beans Meredith would agree–and would willingly give them up for longer than Lent!

She said today that if she were to take over in the kitchen–something she is capable of doing–she’d cook more or less like I do–except NO beans!

(Meredith grew up near Chicago–the Windy City–perhaps she’s had her fill of wind! The only beans she saw were the long green ones from the family garden–and those she likes!)



Annibale Caracci’s The Bean Eater

The size of the beans suits this little salad but use any white bean.


8oz dry white beans–soaked in water eight or more hours or overnight (evening of Pancake Tuesday!)

1 carrot–halved lengthwise

stick of celery–chopped in two

1 onion–halved

sprig of rosemary

for the dressing;

4 tbs olive oil

2 tbs red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove–pulped in a little salt

1 smallish red onion–diced small

2 to 3 tbs parsley–chopped

salt and pepper to taste

a lemon quartered to squeeze over for perfection!

oven at 170c

  • Put the first five ingredients in a saucepan and top by two inches or more with water.
  • Bring gently to the boil.
  • Spoon off any white froth that has collected on the surface.
  • Cover the pan and place in the middle of the oven and cook for an hour.
  • Test the beans for softness.
  • If they still seem a little crunchy cook on until they are soft.
  • This depends on the age of the beans–the older they are, the longer they cook.
  • When you are happy with their tenderness–drain them and pour into a pretty serving bowl.
  • Mix the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper into a vinaigrette and pour over the beans while they are still warm.
  • Add the onion and parsley and carefully turn it all over.



A fuller definition of PURGATORY is:

an intermediate state after death for expiatory purification; specifically :  a place or state of punishment wherein according to the souls of those who die in God’s grace may make satisfaction for past sins and so become fit for heaven

Well, I’d be happy to take my punishment–I love beans!

Wind or no wind!







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