The broad beans of Amerino

Dried broad beans from the Amerino area (between Terni, Amelia and Orvieto), collected inside a wooden bowl.

Broad beans are a traditional dish of the Amerino cuisine, an area located between Terni, Orvieto and Amelia.

Sowing, harvesting and product characteristics

The Amerino area is characterised by clay soils without active limestone, allowing the broad beans that grow from these soils to be eaten without first being hulled. For this reason, the broad beans cultivated here are also called cottòre, indicating an ecotype that cooks quickly, selected by farmers over time.
Broad beans are generally sown at the beginning of November by digging small holes where a few seeds are planted. Harvesting of this type of broad bean takes place in July, when the plant is completely dry in order to facilitate hand threshing and harvesting of the product which, being dry, can be kept for a long time. The beans are then cleaned, removing those that are still green, spotted or broken.

Recipes with broad beans

Broad beans of Amerino are a very popular dish in Umbria, a simple but tasty that enhances the authentic and genuine flavours of the products of the land.

The procedure for cooking broad beans of Amerino is laborious; first of all, they must be placed in cold water, which must then be heated to boiling point. This treatment serves to eliminate impurities from the product, such as factors that reduce its digestibility. They must then be left to rest overnight and, the following day, drained and sorted, removing those that remain of a harder consistency. In this way, those softer ones that remain can be savoured with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs to taste.

Broad beans are also excellent for preparing bruschetta (slice of toasted bread). Simply blend them to obtain a thick cream that goes well with the crunchiness of the bread.
In other cases, broad beans are served as a first course as a pureed soup, accompanied by toasted bread croutons and a drizzle of oil. In some variations of the recipe, they are enriched with other ingredients, such as pancetta, onion or cheek lard, which give the dish an even more intense flavour.
The most traditional dish of the Amerino area is the striscia con le fave (strip of broad beans), that consist of broad beans boiled and seasoned with the fat melted during cooking from the belly area of the pig. This dish is typically eaten on the day the pig is slaughtered.

The broad beans of the Amerino are a simple but tasty dish, requiring the addition of few ingredients, but much appreciated for its intense flavour.

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