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The incredible lightness of bean

February 10, 2010

The other night Senor and I went with Sister & Beau to the very good Da Gianni Trattoria in Annandale. Great food. And accompanying my delicious lamb was a very fine, very simple white bean & tomato number that I kept yearning for later on. As you know, round these parts we love anything with a pulse – but unlike lots of bean dishes this one was zingy, light and fresh. So I had a shot at replicating it a few days later, and while mine wasn’t exactly as good as the restaurant’s, it was near enough to get the compliments we kitchen kids secretly crave …

Happily, I was able to use some of the slow-roasted tomatoes I had already made (from the home-grown glut, you understand *preen*).  You could use canned cannellini beans but one of the best things about this dish was the only-just-tender, firm texture of the beans, and I reckon canned ones could go a bit slushy. So I say live dangerously, do the soaking thing and the result will be much better. I used whatever white dried beans were in the pantry (since I solved my bean dilemmas of yore I have given up caring what the difference may be between navy, cannellini, haricot & so on).

  • 1 cup dried white beans
  • 4 slow-roasted tomatoes (there’s a bit here on slow-roasting – easypeasy, but takes time)
  • 6 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • juice ½ lemon
  • 1 bunch chives, finely chopped (if you use garlic chives, skip the garlic above)
  • 4 basil leaves, cut into fine ribbons
  • 1 slug best quality olive oil
  • salt & pepper

1. Soak the beans overnight, drain and cook in boiling water until just tender. Drain & cool.

2. Chop the tomatoes as finely as possible without turning to mush.

3. Ditto with the anchovies.

4. Gently toss all ingredients together, adjusting the balance of oil, lemon & salt as you go. Done, and delicious.

5 comments

  1. Last year I went to Glebe Point Diner for lunch and had what was basically a seasonal vegetable plate – although it had a more appetising and lyrical name. It was in some respects one of the simplest things I’ve been served at a restaurant. There were different vegetables, mostly simply cooked, along with large white beans tossed with garlic, herbs and a smidge of parmesan. And yet, despite it’s simplicity, it was also one of the most delicious and astounding things I’ve eaten. Each element was perfect. Perfectly cooked, seasoned, flavoured.

    I can well understand your yearning for the clean flavours of the bean dish. And your version looks lovely.


  2. Smacking my chops.


  3. have just been sucked into this blog vortex charlotte..now cursing you for my lost 3 hours..oh, and i hate beans


    • Oh you do NOT. Good then, I’m glad about the three hours. When is your kids’ food blog starting, hmmm?


  4. […] July 6, 2010 Regular visitors to this blog will know that I am an avid fan of the legume (see here, here, here and here, just for a few […]



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