Because stone collects seeds and banks of cloud/skeletons of larks and twilight wolves/but gives up no sounds, crystals, fire, only bullrings/and bullrings, and more bullrings with no walls. — Lorca
It is Labor Day weekend. That last bastion of summer, and you are all, no doubt, riding banana seat bicycles and eating ice cream cones, heading to county fairs and drinking gin rickies. Or not? It’s amazing that my particular summer nostalgia doesn’t have much to do with my own experiences. Or even my own generation. And nostalgia is right, because while it’s still technically August, it’s been getting downright chilly in the evenings, and breezy throughout the day, and rain is in the forecast.
So while you’re off running through sprinklers and eating popsicles—or whatever—I’ll be staying in to FINALLY (hopefully) alphabetize my books, drink the first of my fall manhattans, read the last of my summer reads, and eat the last of the summer foods (okay that last one is an outright lie, I’ll be doing caprese salads well into November).
But first. the book. This book. This quintessentially summer book. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. A quintessentially summer book. So summer, in fact, that I’ve decided to ignore the fact that I’ve yet to write about Faulkner, or Twain, or Byatt, or McCullers, or Didion or ANY of them, and write AGAIN about Hemingway because this book. is. so. summer.Why is it so summer? Well the heat, for one. The heat and the dust and the fishing and the drinking of warm wine. And, of course, the irresponsible, passionate, unrequited love. That sort of summer love.
When I first read The Sun Also Rises, I was in my early-ish twenties, not long out of college, and I wanted so badly to have some sort of similar experience. I wanted to be Brett Ashley, dancing in the street with a garland of garlic around my neck, singing in a tiny bar with a throng of locals, perched on a wine cask, drinking warm red wine from a leather skin and wolfing down a dish of tuna, garlic, and oil on fresh bread.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s not actually a great deal to envy about the characters in The Sun Also Rises, and frankly just remembering the sheer amount of wine consumed in that book makes me exhausted now, but at the time it was probably the most unabashedly gluttonous thing I’d ever read, and I loved it, and knew when I started this blog that I would make something for it. So it just clicked when I saw the fava beans, stacked in soft, teetering mounds at Villante Farms a few weeks ago. Add to that some spicy lamb sausages, and some inspiration from a new cook book titled Catalan Cuisine by Colman Andrews, and you have one fine dish to eat on the eve of the bullfights.
Fava Beans with bacon, pernod and mergeuz sausages
Inspired by Faves a la Catalana, in Catalan Cuisine by Colman Andrews
8 ounces lamb mergeuz sausages
8 ounces bacon, chopped into 1 inch pieces
3 large scallions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 pounds fava beans – shelled via this method
generous splash of pernod
1 bay leaf
small handful of mint, chopped
In a dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed saucepan, brown the sausages on medium heat slowly—then set aside. Turn the heat down a smidge, and add the bacon to the pan, cook until almost crisp, then add the scallions and garlic. Cook until golden and tender, then remove the bacon and set aside. Add fava beans, bay leaf, mint, sugar and salt and toss to combine. Turn the heat back up and add pernod, scraping the bottom of the pot as it bubbles up, then add ½ to ¾ cups of water – or so water just covers favas. Simmer on medium low heat until water cooks down and into a sauce. Take off the heat, remove and discard bay leaf. Add bacon and sausages to pan and stir to combine. Plate, eat, enjoy!
Drink: a Spanish Garnacha or Carignan