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Cooking with Legumes From Europe

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by lilbusgirl (subscribe)
http://3eggsfull.blogspot.com.au/
Published September 9th 2022
What’s so great about legumes you ask
What's both a meat and a vegetable? Legumes, of course.

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Legumes from Europe


Chickpeas and other legume traditionally don't sound like they would make for a good cocktail event, right? Canned Legumes from Europe with the acclaimed and hatted Italian - Australian chef Danny Russo (of L'Unico, Lo Studio, The Beresford Hotel) created a menu showcasing the flavour diversity and quality of canned legumes. Curious to see what was in store for a conceptualised seven course tasting menu at the QVB tearooms, I thought I might even get a leg up with our usual household favourite of chilli con carne with kidney beans.

Rising interest rates, fresh produce reaching historic highs in Australia, in addition to feeding kids with hollow legs, perhaps cooking with legumes may be the way to ticking the boxes for budget-friendly and plant-based source of protein.

First off, the bat was the crunchy pea flour tempura of zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta mint and a side salad of puy lentils dressed with vinegar. With foodies and chefs in the crowd, comments of a touch of lemon zest would have heightened the flavours. I couldn't agree more.

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Zucchini flowers


Next was scallops served in the shell with borlotti puree and salsa verde. It was quite a meaty dish with the addition of borlotti puree which I found a touch heavy, and the flavours of the scallop became a little lost. The salsa verde attempted to cut through the heaviness but didn't quite get there.

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Scallops


Smells of smoked duck filled the air as the waiters came round with their tiered stands, skewered slices of smoked duck breast, each bite emphasized the sweetness, but the side of black beans, roast peppers and black olives dressed in a vinaigrette was the highlight for me.

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Smoked duck


BBQ octopus was served next with charcoal chickpea puree and pickled sea samphire. The octopus was tender, but my curiosity was piqued with the charcoal chickpea. It was delicious, luckily with a chef beside me, I asked how this would have been done. "Charred and until black on the flame and then blitzed the octopus cooking juices," he tells me. It was an adventurous approach and a definite crowd pleaser.

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BBQ octopus

Another of my favourite dishes of the night, would be the crispy cannellini bean and parsley finger, a large crunchy chip served with truffle mayonnaise. Such a delightful indulgence and disbelief as the crispness reminded me of what I thought was a polenta chip but smoother in texture.

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Cannelloni chip


Pasta Fagioli with a drizzle of nduja oil reminded me of an underdone minestrone served in a tea cup, watching people around me scoop the soup of pasta pieces with the spoon whilst the chef beside me had other ideas and slurped it up like a cup of soup. It lacked flavour as its typically loaded with meat, creamy beans, hearty vegetables, tender pasta and a ton of aromatics. This dish had me thinking this would be the ultimate comfort food during the cool spring days that we are currently experiencing if the flavours are right.

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Pasta bean soup

To finish off the night was a dessert of tortelli made with chickpea flour and chocolate mousse also made with chickpea with a sprinkling of icing sugar. The crisp shell of tortelli had a nice bite to it, just a little soggy at the bottom, but the concept was there to show off the versatility of legumes and their ability to take on different flavour profiles. Who knew that you could make chocolate mousse with the chickpeas. Maybe I won't tell the kids about the healthy version, when I attempt to have a go at making it.

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Chickpea and chocolate

Hearing from Danny Russo, "Legumes have always been a staple of my cooking both at home and in the various venues I've worked in over the years. I think they're such an underrated and delicious ingredient that can add so much flavour, texture and nutrients to any dish. Especially with the current inflation crisis hitting us in the fresh produce aisle it's good to remind people about the versatility of canned legumes."

Nodding heads in audience, we were all in agreement. It was a night that kickstarted the ideas of what else could be done with legumes. Food for thought it seems.

Spokesperson for National Association of Canned Vegetables Industries (ANICAV), Giovanni De Angelis says, "Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol and are extremely high in folate, magnesium, iron and potassium. They're such a delicious and unspoken superfood. Legumes from Europe are the best in the world and we want people to know just how delicious, nutritious and budget-friendly they are - which is why we've recruited the help of hatted chef Danny Russo to demonstrate," says De Angelis.

The humble canned legume aptly referred to as 'nature's pearls, healthy, versatile and inexpensive. It seems to be the time to embrace the humble (and varied) canned legumes to ensure you're hitting your health food quota.

What's your go to dish with legumes, let me know.

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Why? Easy to cook, bursting with health.
Your Comment
I love lentils - they were most of my staple diet in my student daze - go well with a variety of flavours including tomato, spices, curries or herbs

I soak dried chickpeas for a couple of days to get nice sprouts about 1cm long that taste rather like peas which I like

canned lentils - hmm - usually taste like something I don't want

but if these might actually taste good - like upmarket canned red salmon or tuna - then I'll look out for them - in supermarkets, or ... ?
by ultim (score: 2|244) 17 days ago
The same here, I love lentils, lots of iron. I always cook dinner with lentils at least once a week. My family hates it ...
by Mindo Koerber (score: 2|375) 6 days ago
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