She explained how the bean, pearl-white in colour, is not only delicious – nutty, creamy and impossibly tender – but also more digestible than most thanks to its very thin skin. And because it is so tender and delicate, it is best prepared in a way that enhances rather than covers its flavour and essence.
Traditionally, the Sorana bean is cooked in a glass flask (the fiasco), giving way to a traditional dish called fagioli al fiasco. The method is pretty straightforward: the beans are placed inside the flask alongside some olive oil, some sea salt, a few pepper grains and a couple of sage leaves. Then, the lot is covered with water and cooked over a very low flame (they should simmer rather than boil, so as to preserve their shape and to prevent breaking the thin skin) until just tender.
Cooked in this way, the beans are served as a side to fish – we had a delicious dish of grilled salt cod and beans to match – or white meat, or even on their own, with olive oil to taste. Simplicity – in this case as in many others – is truly the ultimate sophistication.