Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Near and Far

2 small or 1 large fennel bulb, cut into thin wedges (reserve the fronds)

1 generous pinch of saffron

Fine grain sea salt

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 small yellow onions,  cut into ¼ in slices

2 medium leeks, washed and trimmed into ¼ in slices

3 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pound cooked corona beans or other white beans

⅓ cup dry white wine

2 cups warm water (or bean broth from cooking)

To serve:  

Feta or goat cheese

Chopped oily black olives

Lemon wedges

A handful of well-washed spinach leaves

Bring a small pot of well- salted water to simmer, cooking the fennel wedges until tender, a couple of minutes.  Place in ice bath to stop cooking, drain well and set aside.

Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to grind the saffron with a ¼ tsp sea salt.

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, combine the olive oil with the saffron salt and heat until fragrant, just a minute or so.  Add the onions and cooking, stirring regularly, 10 minutes or so, until tender and silky-you don’t want browning here. Stir in leeks and garlic, cook for another few mins, until leeks soften.  Stir in beans and wine.  Add water or broth to cover beans and bring to a gentle simmer for a few mins.  Just before serving, stir in fennel wedges and a pinch of the reserved fronds.  Top each bowl with any or all of the remaining suggested serving additions.

Serves 3-4