Tag: olives

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

It’s time for soup! The colder it gets the more I feel like food that is up-lefting and soul-warming. Something that makes me feel strong and prepares me for the cold, dark months ahead of me. Although I love winter, the snow, even the cold, when you get cosy inside, slow down and relax, it’s important to treat yourself to the right food to renew your body and mind.

I’m in the mood for a thick soup, smooth but light – like my Minestrone with big butter beans and fennel with some parsley and black olives sprinkled on top. The texture is velvety and it tastes a bit sweet. Today I add a piece of bacon to it as I feel like something deeper in taste. Usually I cook the vegetarian version, I don’t prefer one over the other, both are nice winter treats!

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Butter Bean and Fennel Soup

Keep in mind that you have to soak the dried beans in water overnight. I like to cook soups in bigger batches to store some in the freezer – great for busy days. This recipe is for 4 people, sometimes I even double the amount.

dried butter beans or Cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight, 250g / 9 ounces
fennel, rinsed, cut in thin slices, 300g / 10.5 ounces
celery stalk, cut in cubes, 1
onion, cut in cubes, 1
broth or water, around 1500 ml
optional: a piece of bacon, 40g / 1.5 ounces
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
bay leaf, 1
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying
parsley, chopped, for topping, 2 tablespoons
black olives, chopped, for topping, 4
good olive oil for topping

Heat some oil in a large pot. Fry the onion, celery, garlic and bacon (left in one piece) for a few minutes. Add the fennel, take the beans out of the water and put them into the pot as well. Fill with broth, add the bay leaf and close with a lid. Don’t season with salt before the beans are done or they won’t become soft. Cook for 30 minutes or until the beans are soft. Depending on the bean’s texture it may take another 30 minutes. Mine needed 60 minutes today but I must admit that I found them in a dark corner of my shelf.

When the beans are done, take out half of the vegetables (cooked beans and fennel) and put them to the side. Mix the other half of the vegetables together with the liquid in a blender and season with salt and pepper. Put everything back into the pot together with the remaining vegetables. When you arrange the soup in soup bowls sprinkle with olives and parsley and drizzle your best olive oil on top.

Trout al Cartoccio

Trout al Cartoccio

Today I found some beautiful, fresh trout and they reminded me of the region where I grew up. Of the forest and its little streams meandering between trees, passing by the trout ponds which are close to my mother’s house. I decided to get two of them and cook them al cartoccio – in parchment paper – together with Tyrolean prosciutto, olives, capers, garlic and bay leaves.

Trout has a strong, earthy taste which makes it perfect to combine with other stand out flavours. The closed parchment paper package makes this union of tastes even more intense. As extreme as this combination may sound, it is a perfect match. The trout can take the smoky prosciutto, the bay leaf, the olives and capers without loosing any of its own qualities.

The best part is opening the hot paper package on your plate and smelling the different aromas. Dip some bread in the juices and enjoy with a glass of white wine!

Trout al Cartoccio

Trout al Cartoccio with Tyrolean Prosciutto, Olives and Capers

For 2 people you need

trout, cleaned, 2 each around 300g / 10.5 ounces
Tyrolean prosciutto, thin slices, 6
(or any other Italian prosciutto)
olives, green, 8
capers 2 tablespoons
garlic, quartered, 2
bay leaves 4
white wine 100ml
olive oil 4 tablespoons plus more to brush the parchment paper
salt and pepper

a small loaf of Ciabatta

parchment paper for the packages

Set your oven to 180°C / 355°F

Rinse and dry the fish, season with salt and pepper (inside and out).

You need to prepare 2 parchment paper packages for 2 trout: for each package put 2 layers of parchment paper on top of each other, each around 20cm / 8″ longer than the fish. Brush the top layer with oil.

Wrap each trout in 3 slices of prosciutto and place it in the middle of your oiled parchment paper. Put one bay leaf in the fish and one below. Fold up the sides of your package, twisting the ends without closing the top and fill with half of the olives, capers, garlic, olive oil and white wine. Close the top and fold twice. Repeat with the second trout.

Place both bags in a baking dish or pan and put in the oven for 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of the fish). You can tell the fish is done when its earthy smell starts to fill the air. Carefully open one of your packages, if you can lift the flesh off the bone with a fork it’s done.

Trout al Cartoccio