Wednesday, November 5, 2014

white beans and spinach over toast.

If you were to send me a coupon, it's pretty much a guarantee that you will get me to visit your website.  From there, I will probably spend 45 minutes of my life on-line shopping and then I will probably purchase something I don't really need.  I will convince myself that it only makes sense to buy this item because it's on sale or a good deal or because I would be doing a disservice to the entire marketing industry if I did not buy it.  

This is how I ended up purchasing 4 pounds of heirloom beans about 2 weeks ago.  

(The marketing industry and online retailers love me.)

No one needs 4 pounds of heirloom beans.  But, when the beans are 20% off and come from a company called Rancho Gordo and when you've read about how good there beans are, you can easily convince yourself that such a purchase is a really smart investment.  

And to answer your question, the beans are awesome.  

I've only tried one of the 4 varieties thus far which was a white bean.  The closest comparison I can think to make is a mini cannelini but I don't think that does it justice.  I think this particular variety would be incredible in soups and I am itching to make a meat and bean chili (sorry to the Texan's who think this is sacrilegious) in the next couple of weeks with some of the other types.  For this first batch I made a very traditional Italian preparation of spinach, beans, and parmesan to be served a top toasts.  It's nothing fancy but it's particularly comforting and with beans this good, simple is better. 

White Beans and Spinach over Toast

Think of this as a jumping off point.  Kale would be lovely and so would swiss chard.  And it goes without saying though I will remind you, putting an egg on it wouldn't be a bad idea.  And splurge on the good bread.  Thick, chewy, delicious bread.  

The beans can be found here and if I wasn't clear before, they are insanely good.  Totally worth buying. 

Serves 4

4 - 8 Slices of thick-cut bread (depending on the size of the bread.  
About 2 cups (or 1 15 ounce can) of white beans
About 1 pound of spinach, washed and thinly sliced  
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more if you want some extra heat
1/4 cup chicken broth (or your bean liquid)
1/4 cup parmesan or pecorino romano plus more for sprinkling at the end  
Salt and pepper to taste  
A drizzle of Mike's Hot Honey (optional)

Toast your bread in a 350 degree oven until golden brown (a toaster also works though you can't cook all of the slices at the same time).  

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add red pepper flakes and cook another 10 seconds. Stir in spinach, beans, and broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach is just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the parmesan.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Spoon the bean-and-spinach mixture over the toasts.  Sprinkle with additional cheese and pepper.  Drizzle Mike's Hot Honey over the top if you choose.     

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