Chickpeas and other legumes traditionally don’t sound like they would make for a good event, but last night my Plus One and I got a pleasant surprise. We were asked to visit Lygon Street’s lovely hotel & bar, Zagame’s House, to see Chef Danny Russo team up with Canned Legumes from Europe to present a night of unusual flavour combos using legumes as the key ingredient.
Danny Russo is an acclaimed Italian-Australian chef and create a menu to showcase the flavour, diversity and quality of canned legumes. The seven-course tasting menu had a couple of adventurous dishes (hello chocolate & chickpea tart) and crowd-pleasing favourites using legumes as the signature ingredient. With a glass of Prosecco in hand, we listened on as Danny explained what to expect from his menu. It was surprising to hear that the majority of canned legumes from Europe are primarily produced in Italy!
The smoked duck breast with black beans, pasta fagioli and ndjula oil (served in a coffee cup), as well as BBQ Octopus with Charcoal Chickpea Puree were both quite good. One of our top dishes of the night had to be the zucchini flower stuffed with ricotta and served with a little lentil side.
As someone who prides themselves at whipping up a storm in the kitchen for friends with only a moments notice, I’m definitely a fan of having a few kitchen staples ready to go in the pantry, and beans and legumes are always on hand in my house. You’d be surprised how often a can of chickpeas can save a meal.
Add some Canned Legumes from Europe to your shopping basket next time you see them, and to try out these recipes for yourself head to Danny Russo’s Instagram.