In Latvia, the tradition of eating fresh beans is as popular as drinking tea after a meal in Italy. There is no tradition! The most common use is drying them for winter and early spring consumption, so every time I see them fresh at the market, I buy as much as possible. Of course, that is a rare thing and it is much easier, during the season, to fly to Italy and have them every day – which we did, by the way, while I lived in Tuscany for some time.
600 g fresh borlotti or any other beans
700 - 900 ml stock (vegetable or chicken)*
50 g carrot, in 3 pieces
2 bay leaves
1 big sprig of oregano
20 Malabar peppers
50 g fresh fennel (I use the green stalk)
sea salt to taste
20 g butter
20 ml olive oil
Put everything except butter and olive oil into a pot and bring to boil. Boil on medium heat until the beans are ready (normally for fresh beans it takes about 20 minutes). Strain them, saving the liquid that you pour back into the pot. Turn the heat up to the highest, add butter, and boil the stock until it is reduced by half. Place the beans in a serving dish, pour over the sauce and serve with bread, avocado, tomato and rucola or on top of grilled bread.
PS. If by any chance you lose too much liquid while boiling, add more. You should have enough liquid to just reach the top of the beans.
* It should cover beans in the pot by at least 5 cm.
Recipe and pictures: Signe Meirane
Plates, accessories from H&M Home
Photos taken with Sony alpha 7s