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Bean Boys Love Their Toys: Fagioli al Fiasco

For years I'd heard of fagioli al fiasco. Small white beans like the famous Zolfini from Tuscany were placed in an empty wine bottle with olive oil and herbs and then placed in the smoldering embers of a wood fire. I finally tracked down a terra cotta pot that did this and the results were great, but the opaque clay made it hard to know what was going on inside and clean up felt a bit risky. ranchogordo-2086 Out of the blue, my online pal Robin Lynch sent me this glass version. I'm sure it's treated laboratory style glass but the concept is the same. Super low heat and the clever design mean you have beans, from unsoaked to sublime, in about three hours. ranchogordo-2089 This fiasco has the markings on it so there's almost nothing you need to do but watch. The recipe calls for sage but all I had on hand was some thyme. ranchogordo-2103 After you load it up, you pop a cork in the top (which has a small hole all the way through so the bottle doesn't explode.) I put the heat on as low as it would go, on burner with a plate on it. I think it might help not to put it on a direct flame but I'll research this more. ranchogordo-2098-2 For about an hour, it seems be a wasted effort and then all of a sudden it starts simmering, followed by a fairly brisk boil. The coolest part is that you get to see the whole process. ranchogordo-2108 I let them go for three hours in total. After two hours, you're instructed to add salt and more water. I added hot water just to be safe. Friends, these were incredible. So soft and delicate yet still whole. No chicken stock was used and yet the bean broth was superior and flavorful. I used our Alubia Blanca but Marcella would also be excellent. Of course, if you can find Italian Zolfini beans, go for it. I did try them later with our Sangre de Toro but these weren't as successful. I think you need a more European-style white bean with a thin skin. I'm going to keep experimenting. Please note: We might try and carry these at some point but as of this writing I have no idea where you can get one.

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