Blinding the husband

Blinding the husband


Sharing Puglia
Alicia Taylor

This intriguing Salentine dish literally means ‘blinding the husband’. This soup looks quite impressive, but involves few ingredients and a simple cooking method. It‘s a perfect example of cucina povera (‘cuisine of the poor‘). Legend has it that when the husband came home from work, the wife would present him with this easy-to-prepare dish. However, the husband, thinking that the wife must have spent hours preparing this delicious soup especially for him, would be so impressed and love her even more.


Quantity Ingredient
495g green split peas
1 onion, diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 celery stalk, chopped
600ml vegetable stock
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley
1/2 loaf sourdough bread, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 whole garlic cloves, roughly smashed, (optional)

Cime di rape

Quantity Ingredient
1 bunch cime di rape
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons warm water


  1. Soak the split peas overnight in a bowl, covered with plenty of cold water. Drain the peas and place them in a heavy-based saucepan, along with 500 ml cold water. Cover and cook over medium heat until boiling, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour.
  2. Add the onion, tomatoes, celery, vegetable stock and parsley to the pan and stir well. Check the liquid level and ensure the peas are covered. Season the peas well with salt and pepper and continue cooking, partially covered, for another hour.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C.
  4. Put the bread on a baking tray, drizzle over the 2 tablespoons olive oil and scatter over the crushed garlic. Bake in the oven along with the whole garlic cloves (if using) for 5–8 minutes, stirring once to ensure all the bread is crusty and golden. Cool the bread cubes and garlic and reserve them for garnishing the soup.
  5. For the cime di rape, wash and drain the cime di rape thoroughly and chop it roughly. Sauté the chilli in the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the cime di rape along with the warm water and sauté for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve to place in the soup when serving.
  6. Ladle the pea soup into wide bowls and top with some of the sautéed cime di rape along with the toasted bread cubes and whole garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. A liberal drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil on top finishes this dish beautifully.
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