November 14, 2006
[Soupe de Haricots Verts aux Amandes]
None of my friends need to be reminded how I feel about Rose Bakery, their salad plates, their assortment of British goods (including Neal's Yard cheeses), and their superb sweets that one simply must try and reproduce at home. "Where should we go for lunch in your neighborhood?" they ask. "I like Rose Bakery," I reply. "And what about breakfast/tea/brunch, what do you recommend?" they ask. "Well, I like Rose Bakery," I repeat.
Admittedly, Rose Bakery gives off a very distinctive vibe, one that I rarely encounter anywhere else in this city: completely devoid of any eagerness to please, but neither standoffish nor haughty, the staff displays a reserve that one may be tempted to describe as British, supported by a profound confidence in the quality of what they make and sell.
I'm sure some people would dislike that, but I find myself drawn to this kind of place, where no one and nothing tries to sway your judgment (or worse, press someone else's on you), and all that is asked of you is to taste and decide for yourself. No glitzy interior design, no elaborate packaging, no flash in the proverbial pan -- just fine, fresh, seasonal food prepared tastefully and presented simply.
And the book that owner Rose Carrarini has just issued, called Breakfast, Lunch, Tea (and also available on Amazon.fr), is entirely true to this spirit: the layout is pared-down and clutter-free, Toby Glanville's pictures are beautiful but seemingly unstaged (we know better of course), and the recipes are short, simple, and inspiring.
It is a delightful feeling to have the secrets of some of my favorites finally revealed and I have tagged the pages with many a sticky little flag. The green bean and almond soup is the first recipe I've tried, and I'm happy to say it lived up to my expectations: the flavors are bright and clean, the texture a perfect mix of nubby and smooth, and this soup is a splendid way to honor the last of this year's green beans.
Rose Bakery Map it!
46 rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris
01 42 82 12 80
Soupe Haricots Verts et Amandes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 500 grams (a little over a pound) green beans
- Fine sea salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 liter (4 cups) homemade vegetable stock or water
- 100 grams (1 cup) powdered almonds (see note below)
Serves 4 to 6.
[Adapted from Rose Carrarini's Breakfast, Lunch, Tea, page 72: I've slightly reduced the amount of olive oil, omitted the celery, upped the amount of carrots just a bit, and added the toasting of the almond powder.]
Heat the oil in a medium heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onions, garlic, and carrots, and cook over medium heat, stirring every now and then, until softened and very lightly golden. In the meantime, trim the green beans and rinse them well. Add to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Pour in the stock or water, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. In the meantime, pour the powdered almonds in a dry skillet. Set over medium-high heat and toast for about two minutes, stirring constantly and watching closely, until golden and fragrant. Set aside in a bowl to prevent overtoasting.
When the vegetables are soft, add the powdered almonds to the pot and stir well. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Using an immersion blender or working in batches in a blender, purée the soup until completely smooth. Taste, adjust the seasoning, reheat over gentle heat if necessary, and serve.
Note: Powdered almonds, a.k.a. almond meal or ground almonds, can be found at organic and natural foods stores. If you can't find them, simply grind 100 grams (3/4 cup) whole blanched almonds in a food processor: work in short pulses and give the almonds a few seconds to cool between each pass so they won't turn into almond butter -- delicious as it may be, it is not what we're looking for here.
Quince Almond Cake
Violet Cornmeal Macarons