Tuscan White Bean Bruschetta

An easy way to use up leftover cooked beans, yet a delicious appetizer that tastes celebratory and rustic at the same time.  A win-win!

It’s been all flageolet beans, all the time, around here lately, but that’s what happens when you cook up a pound at once and then keep finding new ways to enjoy their deliciousness.  This recipe is quite simple, uses basic pantry staples, and is a great way to use the tag ends of frozen kale or other leafy greens that have been cluttering up the freezer.  I’m sure that this is tastiest with home-cooked beans, but what with all the layers of flavor from spicy greens, sauteed onions, balsamic vinegar and rich chicken stock, you could get by with canned white beans in a pinch.  Serve on top of crusty, toasted baguette slices and watch it disappear!

Adapted from Tuscan-Style Grilled Bruschetta in Your Organic Kitchen by Jesse Ziff Cool

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Tuscan White Bean Bruschetta

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • about 8 cups mixed leafy greens (I used kale, turnip greens and baby spinach, but any spicy leafy green will do), washed well and spun dry, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, divided, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided, to taste
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 2 cups cooked white beans (I used flageolet, but any creamy white bean will do)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano (or 4 tsp chopped fresh oregano)
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 baguette, for crostini

METHODS

  1. Heat about half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and greens; sauté until greens are wilted and very tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer greens mixture to a bowl, add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. (I used about 1/4 tsp of each here).  Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Using the same skillet, heat the rest of the olive oil until hot but not shimmering; add onions and sauté over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add beans, broth and oregano and simmer over medium heat until broth thickens and limited liquid remains, about 10 minutes.  Transfer bean mixture to a plate or large, flat bowl and lightly mash with a fork or potato masher (I like a chunky texture so I leave some of the beans intact).  Stir well, taste, and add salt and pepper as necessary (I added the remaining 1/4 tsp of each here).
  4. Slice the baguette thinly. Spread bread pieces out onto a baking sheet and toast until crisp and just begining to color, about 5 minutes (if you wish, you may drizzle the bread with olive oil for a richer crostini).  Remove from the oven and serve warm crostini with a layer of greens, then a layer of beans.

Serves 4 – 6.

OPTIONS

  1. The greens and beans may be made ahead and held, separately, at room temperature prior to serving.  Warm greens in a skillet, or in the microwave, prior to assembling crostini.
  2. Any mix of spicy, leafy greens will work:  the original recipe called for mustard greens.
  3. It strikes me that a 1/2 cup of white wine wouldn’t be amiss in the bean broth; I may try that next time.
  4. Navy beans are available locally at Cayuga Pure Organics.

STORE

The beans and greens may be made up to 2 days in advance and stored, refrigerated, prior to use.  Allow beans to come to room temperature, and re-heat greens before serving.  Crostini are best on the day of toasting.

SEASON

Winter into Spring.

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One comment

  1. Hooray, hooray for flageolet! I have never thought of them as a white bean–not sure what to think of them as I’ve felt rather confined to recipes that specifically call for them, meaning I have a bit of a glut (because, as I love them, I still buy them). This looks great, and it’s been too long since I’ve had kale. Thanks!

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