Crostini with cannelini beans and fried sage
This is a very Italian dish and like most Italian food it is simple and delicious. “Simple” I mean in a sophisticated way. Viva Italia. I cook beans frequently and tend to have some on hand most of the time so it’s easy for me to make these crostini without having to cook them from scratch. The beans can be homemade, slow cooked with aromatics, or if you don’t cook beans from scratch then use good canned organic beans and flavour them with good olive oil, hot pepper flakes and sage. Should work just fine.
The crostini can be served as an appetizer with a glass of wine, as a little lunch with a salad or a delicious snack anytime or to tide you over until dinner is made.
If I only make a small number of crostini then I grill the bread in a skillet on top of the stove with a film of olive oil in the skillet. If you need a larger amount do it in the oven on a baking sheet, drizzling the bread with olive oil and grilling it either under a broiler or in a hot oven. The bread should be soft in the center, not crisp throughout, but it has to be crisp on the outside (it’s the law).
Makes 8-10 crostini.
2-3 tablespoon olive oil
A bunch of sage leaves
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
1 shallot, minced
A generous pinch hot pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Baguette style bread or another crusty bread, sliced into 1/2 ” slices
Frying the sage:
Heat the oil in a skillet large enough to hold 4 slices of bread.
Add the sage and cook a couple of minutes until it becomes crisp but still green.
Remove the sage to a plate.
Cooking the beans:
Add the shallot to the oil in the skillet and cook until soft and fragrant.
Add the beans and warm them up in the oil, stirring.
Add salt and pepper and the hot pepper flakes, adding more oil if necessary to keep the beans from drying.
When the beans are heated through mash them lightly with a fork but leaving some texture (or make them smooth if you prefer).
Remove from heat and keep warm.
Grilling the bread:
Wipe the same skillet clean and film it with olive oil.
Press a few bread slices into the oil on both sides.
Place over medium high heat and grill the bread, pressing it into the skillet to get more even browning.
Turn the bread over and grill the other side.
Spoon some cannellini beans onto each slice of bread.
Garnish with fried sage leaves.
Drizzle with additional olive oil and serve warm with a glass of Chianti.