Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lupini anyone?

These are lupini beans. Maybe you've enjoyed them in one of the Mediterranean countries where they are a popular bar snack but I found many people dislike them citing their offensive bitterness. While they are bitter, a little work makes these tasty wee protein rich pods addictively edible.

Here's how:

First, determine if you have presoaked lupini or if yours need soaking. If they simply taste kind of bland, salt your lupini in a bowl, stir well, pour yourself a glass of wine and mangia!

Lupini that are inedibly bitter (and shouldn't be eaten due to high alkaloid levels) will definitely require a soaking after which they are perfectly safe and delicious. To soak: Place the lupini and plain cool water in a plastic container. Leave at cellar temperature or in the fridge changing the water over a few days, depending on the level of bitterness. A few days, up to 4-5, might be required. I don't add salt to the soaking water as I find it makes them too salty and a little bit tough. More on lupini here.

Another possibility, rarely found, however, is that your beans are hard, dry and near brown. If this is the case, not only will you need to soak them, you'll have to cook them too.

When ready to eat, these are firm, not brittle crunchy, but with a definite bite. You should remove the exterior husk before eating by either biting through it and discarding it before chewing or you can manually pinch them out of their 'shells'. They shouldn't be terribly slippery so the latter is a preferable method if you aren't keen on spitting them out at the table. Provide a small dish for rubbish (or feed them to your chickens or pigs.. they are favourite) .

These have been soaking for a few days in anticipation of today, La Festa di San Martino. Serve salted alongside other snacks, an olive mixture, chestnuts, walnuts, and hard bread with sarde to accompany beer and wine.

Salute!

1 comment:

Dave said...

Is it really strange to eat the outer shell? I LOVE lupini beans and I can't wait to hydrate my own. They're kind of pricey and too salty when purchased hydrated.

They're also 2/3 of a gram of fiber per bean!

This is my new favorite food site, very nice. I look forward to future visits.