Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Basic Beans with a Tomato Bread Salad

300g dried Borlotti or Cannellini beans, soaked in cold water for at least 12 hours
3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
a sprig of fresh rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 stick of celery, trimmed
1 small potato, peeled and halved
2 cherry tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
a few sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Drain and wash your soaked beans. Place them in a deep pot and cover with cold water. Throw in your garlic, herb sprigs, bay leaves, celery stick, potato, and tomatoes. Place the beans on the heat and slowly bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer very gently for 45 min to an hour, depending on your beans, til soft and cooked nicely. Skim if necessary, topping up with boiling water from the kettle if you need to.

When the beans are cooked, drain them in a colander, reserving enough of the cooking water to cover them halfway up when put back in the pot. Remove the garlic, herbs, celery, potato, and tomatoes from the beans. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins, and pinch the skin off the tomatoes. Put the garlic tomatoes and potato onto a plate, mash them with a fork and stir back into the beans. Season well with salt and pepper, and pour in three generous glugs of extra virgin olive oil and a few splashes of vinegar. Stir in the parsley.

To Serve:
Toast 2 slices of good quality bread, and tear them into rough chunks. Place in a bowl with a handful of chopped tomatoes, some sea salt and freshly ground pepper, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a swig of good balsamic vinegar. Spoon some of your beans onto a plate, followed by the bread and tomato mixture.

It says to serve it topped with a slice or two of prosciutto and some baby basil leaves, but I didn’t have any.

This was a Jamie at Home recipe. I made it to use up some beans that I had, which is why there are two differant types of beans in there.

The beans themselves were nice. They had a good flavor, but on their own I would have been a bit disappointed. With the tomato bread salad though, they became a really nice home-y and lovely meal.

I only discovered the idea of bread salads this year, I really like them. It’s a great way to bulk up a side dish to a main dish. Also the balsamic vinegar really livened everything up.


Kevin said...

Ha, so cool. I just made these beans today too and I come on here tonight and see it there: what a coincidence! I too was disappointed by the flavor of the beans; there wasn't much flavor there, it was sort of bland or something and mixing it with the tomatoes made it turn to this gross color, combined with the mushy texture of the beans: it looked like brains. I'll definitely try the leftovers with the bread salad though. thanks.

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