Serious Eats: Recipes

French in a Flash: White Bean Bisque with Garlic Chips

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

The place where I live is, I'm told, covered in snow. I am always cold there—the damp creeps into my bones, the sun rarely shines, and the heat turns off automatically at midnight, converting my room with magical precision from Cinderella's warm steed-drawn carriage to cold, un-insulated countryside pumpkin. Good thing that I came home to Florida for the holidays where it is, lo (figuratively and literally) and behold, in the twenties.

I act disappointed that I will return to England as pale as I left, but really, this is far more exciting. The freshness in the air returns a pluck to your step, and cold in Florida is like a snowday up North—the stuff of spontaneous snowball fights (or cold wet sand fights down here). And amid all the talk of global warming and the white winters of yesteryear, it is good for our collective conscious to be a bit chilly.

But I wouldn't leave you out in the cold without a little something to warm you up. For me, that's always a good thick bean soup that I can fling together with my coat still on, and that is ready by the time I have stripped it off, along with my hat, scarf, and gloves. I flavor this white bean soup with the predominant flavors of Provence (perhaps by way of wishful summer thinking): garlic and rosemary.

This bisque is cheap, simple, and probably the most figure-friendly bisque you're likely to come across. Tracing paper-thin sheets of garlic are quickly fried to chips, and a touch of their oil is used to soften sweet shallots until they perfume the house. Rosemary and cannellini beans have a quick and hot fifteen to twenty minute fling on the stove, and the whole thing is puréed with a drop of cream. The result is rich, warm, comforting, and hearty, but refined, delicate, and modest—and pale as I am in color, even after my Florida holiday.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.

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