Friday, November 30, 2012

Deep-Fried Lupini Beans with Rosemary

Deep Fried Lupini Beans with Rosemary

Although this recipe works with nearly any seed legume, the uniquely briny bite of lupini beans holds its own against a sprinkling of equally potent dried rosemary.

So easy to prepare for as a snack, you can make it easier and safer still to purchase a jar of already processed-for-consumption beans.  I mention safety not for the obvious precautions of working with hot fat, but for the equally diligent process of soaking the fresh or dried beans in salted water over a period of days to remove their natural alkaloid content, an element that makes for bitter, as well as toxic tasting.  If you choose to prepare your own, it is critical that you are patient and painstakingly particular in the methodical soaking; there are no shortcuts.

You can, however, opt to forgo removing the dense outer skins of the beans, each punctuated with  one tiny whole from which the entire seed can be popped. The quick trick is to hold each bean in a damp paper towel and squeeze it between thumb and middle fingers, snapping it out into a well-positioned bowl. While this may seem as time consuming as soaking, it can actually be a pleasant, fidgety ritual of therapeutic value.

To skin or not to skin is at your own discretion.  To resist another crunchy handful is that much harder a choice to make.

Deep-Fried Lupini Beans with Rosemary 

Makes 1 1/2 cups.


1 8-ounce jar prepared lupini beans in brine
1 1/2 cups high smoke-point cooking oil (I used canola.)
2  teaspoons dried rosemary


Drain and rinse beans under cold water in a colander.  If you are leaving the skins on, tip beans into a tea towel to absorb excess moisture before opening the towel to allow beans to air dry. Any moisture introduced to hot oil will cause spattering that can result in painful burns and more difficulty in regulating the oil temperature.

If you are removing the skins, follow the technique above, changing the paper towel when it becomes too wet. Proceed to dry beans as just described.

In a small saucepan, heat oil to 300°F. If you do not have a cooking thermometer, you can also judge a near-correct temperature by dropping a bean into the oil, watching for it to vigorously sizzle, covered in tiny bubbles.  Making sure beans are fully dry, carefully add half of them to the oil.  The oil temperature will reduce slightly.  Increase heat until beans are sizzling, occasionally gently stirring and lifting them with a skimmer to check their color.  They will slowly turn to a dark gold, and their texture will become coarse and shrunken.  At this stage, watch the color frequently to prevent them becoming overly brown. Carefully lift one from oil, blot and cool slightly, then test bite for just the right crunch. Too little frying will yield a flexible center and requires a bit more time in the oil.  When you are satisfied with the mouth feel, scoop out all beans onto a paper towel, immediately adding the second batch to the oil.  Repeat the procedure, remembering to  turn off heat and remove saucepan to cool burner.  Gather up beans in the paper towel and press to blot excess oil.  Transfer beans to a bowl and sprinkle with rosemary. There is no need for additional salt. Serve hot or at room temperature. -- 

This recipe is for Simona of Briciole, hosting MLLA 53, which closes today at noon California time.

Thanks to Simona for hosting, as well as all who have joined in this month.  After all these years, it is still a treat to scroll through what are now thousands of legume recipes from creative cooks all over the globe.


  1. Very intriguing! I may have to hunt these beans down and give it a try.

  2. What a pretty presentation and great idea!



  3. I have some dry lupini that I got in Italy: we'll see what I come up with for them. Lupini and roasted pumpkin seeds are sold by street vendors in Italy, so the idea of a jar of lupini is a bit strange. I have never tasted them deep-fried. I love the photo! The surface texture of the lupini looks great. Thank you so much for your contribution!