I love recipes that rely on ingredients that we (should) already have in our kitchen cupboard and fridge.
For instance, I’m never without a few cans of cannellini beans, some fruity extra-virgin olive oil, chili oil or dried sage – and it’s a rare event when I don’t have fresh lemons, garlic and Italian flat leaf parsley in my fridge, as I cook with them all the time.
There’s usually a part-cooked crusty baguette lurking somewhere in my freezer that’s just waiting to be baked, sliced, chunked or dunked, so with all the necessary ingredients in place and 10 minutes to spare, I was able to whip up this little snack in next to no time.
White bean purée is delicious, nutritious and filling and if I’m being greedy, I might eat three or four of these for lunch – but served as an hors d’oeurves, one per person will be plenty.
I make individual *crostini by smearing a small amount of good quality mayonnaise onto thin slices of crusty baguette, then frying them briefly on both sides in a very hot, heavy skillet until they’re golden and crunchy.
Sun-dried tomatoes in oil used to be trendy but were so over-used that I think people tired of them, just as they’re now starting to tire of kale. Sun-dried tomatoes taste every bit as good now as they did when they first emerged on the kitchen scene, back in the 80’s and I never gave up on them. They’re particularly good as a topping here.
You’ll also need a food processor.
BRUSCHETTA with a WHITE BEAN, GARLIC, LEMON & FRESH HERB PUREE
(Makes approx 1.5 cups /360ml of purée)
1 x 15 oz (425g) can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 small clove of garlic, finely minced
2-3 tablespoons of good extra-v olive oil
A pinch of dried sage
A handful of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
The finely minced zest of half a lemon
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
To finish –
Extra chopped parsley, a few small pieces of good old sun-dried tomato in oil and a few drops of chili oil for drizzling
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and gently cook the garlic and sage until the garlic starts to turn golden. Add the drained beans and chopped parsley and stir for a few minutes until everything is heated through.
Stir in the lemon zest and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Allow it to cool slightly then transfer to a food processor along with 2 tablespoons of water – pulse until you have a chunky purée. Adjust the seasoning and transfer to a small dish.
Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes at room temp for the flavors to develop and when you’re ready to serve, spread generously onto the *crostini, then top with a little extra chopped parsley, a piece of sun-dried tomato and finish with a drizzle of chili oil (optional).
It will keep covered in the fridge for several days but bring it back to room temp before serving.
Feeding a gathering? Why not offer a selection of fast and fabulous nibbly-bits to go with the Bruschetta: