Beans “in a flask” on grilled bread
I cook a lot of legumes and grains and this bean dish is one of my favourite. I make it with less liquid or more liquid, depending on what I do with it. When we were in Italy a while back we spent a month in Rome. One of the most memorable lunches we had was at a restaurant near the Spanish Steps called Ristoranto Nino. At the entrance, behind glass, there was a flask with white beans cooking in it, slowly over low heat for a long time.
Fagioli al Fiasco is a traditional Tuscan dish that used to be cooked in a round Chianti wine bottle, placed in the warm ashes at the edge of the fireplace and cooked overnight. I don’t have a glass flask or fireplace with ashes so I cook it in an enamel cast iron pot on top of the stove and it is a beautiful dish.
The cannellini beans are soaked overnight (I know some people do not soak the beans) , then drained and cooked with stock or water, olive oil, garlic and sage and some chilli peppers for a little heat. It’s not fast food but it is easy and delicious and so worth taking the time to make.
I served it over grilled bread so I made the beans with more liquid to help soften the bread. I also had sage pesto so I spooned it onto the beans at the table.
Beans “in a flask” on grilled breadDifficulty: Easy
1 cup cannellini beans, soaked overnight
1/3 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
A couple fo stems of fresh sage
A pinch of hot pepper flakes
4 cups water or stock
Salt and pepper
Additional olive oil for drizzling
Sourdough bread, sliced
1/2 garlic clove, sliced lengthwise
Shaved parmesan if you wish
- Soak the beans overnight, then drain, discarding the water.
- Heat oil over medium heat, add onion and cook until tender but not brown.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn it.
- Add the beans, sage and hot pepper flakes and enough stock to cover the beans by 2 inches.
- Bring the beans to a slow boil, then reduce heat and let cook until they are tender, about an hour. Watch the pot and add more water as necessary to keep them from drying. I made mine a bit soupy this time.
- When the beans are ready add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with a little more olive oil.
- Brush the bread with olive oil and grill in a panini maker.
- When the bread is ready stick a fork in the half garlic and rub the cut side of the garlic against the grilled bread to impart a little garlicky flavour.
- Place the grilled bread in a bowl and spoon the beans over,
- Drizzle olive oil over and shave a bit of parmesan if you wish.