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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

8 Comments on Bean Boys Love Their Toys: Fagioli al Fiasco

  1. Check on Ebay. I found an Italian seller who will send one to me. I made whatever Steve does and my family are complete bean converts.

  2. What size is that erlenmeyer flask? 1000mm, 2000mm? I have several so I need to know which one to use.

  3. Is there a recipe for Pasta al Fiasco? I may just get a 1000mm erlenmeyer flask–about 9.00 at Amazon.
    500g of beans,
    Sage
    Oil
    Water?
    Etc.

  4. That’s a 2 liter Erlenmeyer flask. I am a chemistry professor. These flasks are common and about $10-12. Just one comment: Erlenmeyer flasks are designed such that liquids contained therein can gently reflux, that is, come to a gentle boil and condense on the cooler upper surface of the flask. For this to occur, you need a large surface area and a good head space on the flask above the liquid surface. Steve filled it too high. Shame. LOL. I am surprised that it didn’t boil over. Water can absorb and lot of heat and when it begins to boil can take off violently. I tried this procedure several times. The first time that I tried it boiled over. More careful control of the heat prevented it from occurring. Beans were great nonetheless.

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