Monday, October 10, 2011

White Bean and Tomato Bruschetta

The highlight of the bruschetta bar, at least for me, was this little gem right here.  Our event was kicking off an evening of drinking and revelry, and while finger food doesn't offer much by way of substance, I was bound and determined to have something with a little more protein to sate us.
Adapted from a Bon Apetit recipe found at Epicurious

yields about 20 servings

The Ingredients:
1 cup dried Great Northern beans (or one can, drained and well-rinsed)
3 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

The Process:
If using dry beans: beans in large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 3 inches. Bring to boil. Cover and remove from heat. Allow the beans to stand 1 hour.  Drain beans and return to pan. Add enough cold water to cover by them 3 inches. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Drain and cool. 

Transfer cooked (or canned) beans to medium bowl. Add in tomatoes, olives, 4 tablespoons oil, basil and garlic. Mix until well combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Serve cold or room temperature with crostini.

The Review:
The flavor and texture of this simple topping was astounding.  Fresh red-ripe fall tomatoes, smooth and creamy white beans, salty olives and just enough seasoning to tie everything together....heavenly.   I went a little heavier on the bean than the recipe called for, but with no regrets.  

The original recipe suggests serving by spreading freshly toasted slices of French bread with a goat's cheese such as Montrachet and then topping with the bean mixture.  While I'm sure this would have added an even more exquisite depth of flavor and a wonderful play of warm crisp toast against cool and creamy toppings, we opted to keep it simple and remove the broiler and cheese from the equation.  That's quite alright.  This meant I was able to savor a lovely bit of Montrachet on my own some days later.

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