Lidia’s White Beans with Sevruga

One hot summer Sunday afternoon, I walked into Lidia Bastianich’s house to find a glass of chilled champagne and a dish of beans and caviar on the kitchen counter. Fortunato, the wonderful chef of her New York restaurant Felidia, was grilling bread, which he handed us as soon as it was ready and on top of which we slathered the beans and caviar.

Lidia is one of the few chefs who know that refrigerating a dish can quite often kill it, causing the disparate but connected perfumes and tastes to turn into one smell, one taste. So she hadn’t refrigerated these beans after they were cooked, knowing they would be consumed within an hour or so.

She also knew to take the cooling time into account when figuring the cooking time of the beans.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked white beans, let cool to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh shallots
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped italian parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4–8 ounces sevruga caviar
  • Sea saltand freshly ground black pepper

Method

Put 1 cup of the beans in a bowl, and mash with a fork. Mix in the other beans, shallots, parsley, lemon, and olive oil, and season generously.

Stir in the caviar and serve on grilled hot toasts. Offer the salt separately.

Five Pears, an Apple, and a Lemon

December 14, 1984. Oil, spackle, and tar on tile, 12" x 12". Private collection.

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