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Summer Bean Soup With Tomato Brown Butter

['8 oz. (230 g) dried beans, such as flageolet or navy, or fresh shelling beans', '2 in. square dried kombu', '2 large tomatoes', '2 celery ribs', '1 carrot', '1 leek, white and light green parts only', '6 shallots, skins intact', '6 garlic cloves, minced', '4 oil-packed anchovy fillets', '6 Tbsp. (90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil', '2 Tbsp. maple syrup', '1 ½ Tbsp. kosher salt', '1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes', '1 tsp. whole-grain mustard', '8 oz. (230 g) bacon', '8 oz. (230 g) Romano beans or green beans, chopped into 1 in. pieces', '2 shallots, thinly sliced', '1 tsp. red pepper flakes', 'Zest and juice of 1 lemon', '1 garlic clove, grated', '12 pickled green beans (see Basic Wet Salt Method, below)', '9 cherry tomatoes, quartered', '2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil', '1 tsp. sherry vinegar', 'Tomato Brown Butter', 'Crumbled feta', 'parsley leaves', 'and marjoram leaves for garnish']

Combine the dried beans and kombu in a large container and cover with plenty of water to soak for at least 4 hours or overnight; skip this step if using fresh beans.
Drain the beans and kombu and add them to a large pot with enough water to cover by about 1 in. (if using fresh beans, add the kombu now). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; meanwhile, halve the tomatoes and cut the celery, carrot, and leek into about 3 in. pieces. As soon as the water boils, decrease the heat to medium-low and add the vegetables to the pot, along with the whole shallots and minced garlic. Continue to cook at a gentle simmer until the beans are very creamy, 60 to 90 minutes for dried beans and about half that for fresh.
Remove the pot from the heat and use a slotted spoon to reserve the tomatoes; remove and discard the other vegetables.
Set up a sieve over a heat proof container and strain the beans (there should be about 3 cups or 480 g), reserving all the cooking liquid.
In a blender, combine 1 cup (160 g) of the cooked beans with 2 cups (480 ml) of the cooking liquid, plus the tomatoes, anchovies, oil, maple syrup, salt, red pepper flakes, and mustard. Purée until extremely smooth, pour into a large bowl, and fold in the reserved cooked beans by hand. At this point, you can serve it right away or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days, gently rewarming over medium-low heat when you’re ready to serve.
While the bean soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 325°F. Cut the bacon into ¼ in. lardons; reserve 3 whole beans for garnish and cut the rest into 2 to 3 in. pieces.
In a medium saucepan or Dutch oven, spread the bacon in an even layer and cook over medium-low heat until it starts to turn golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pieces but leave the fat behind.
Increase the heat slightly, and sauté the shallots until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped beans, bacon, and red pepper flakes. Cover with a lid or a tight layer of foil and bake until the beans are very soft, 60 to 90 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, juice, and garlic as soon as the beans come out of the oven and cover again; the residual steam will cook the garlic.
Thinly slice the pickled green beans on the bias. Combine with the cherry tomatoes, oil, and vinegar.
To serve, ladle the bean soup into bowls with a big spoonful of the baked beans on top. Garnish with the pickled green bean mix, a swirl of tomato brown butter, crumbled feta, and torn fresh herbs. Leftovers can all be refrigerated in separate airtight containers, though the green bean salad is best on the day it’s made, when the beans are most crisp and the tomatoes are fresh.
This works for any amount of dense vegetables or dense, underripe fruit, either whole or cut up, such as carrots, turnips, beets, winter squash, onions, green beans, Brussels sprouts, green tomatoes, small apples, underripe peaches, and whole baby cabbages. Peel off any tough skins, such as on beets, winter squash, and onions, and trim the tops. Leave the vegetables whole or cut them into the desired finished shape. Place the vegetables in a nonreactive container and pour water to completely submerge them; as you do so, keep track of how much water you’re adding since the amount of water will dictate the amount of salt (generally 3.5 percent salt by weight of the water for most vegetables, although cucumbers can handle 4 to 5 percent and the increased salt assists with keeping their texture crispy). With a long wooden spoon, stir kosher salt into the brine (or add the salt, cap the jar, and give it a hearty shake) until the salt is dissolved. Place a weight on top of the vegetables to keep them submerged in the brine. Seal the container, using a lid with an airlock if you have one. If you don’t have an airlock, you’ll just need to open the container every few days or so to release carbon dioxide buildup and check for mold. Place the container in a clean, low-light area with an ambient temperature of 60°F to 68°F until the pickles taste sour, about 3 weeks. Refrigerate indefinitely.

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