Sunday, June 13, 2010

Food on bread, take one.

My obsession with food atop bread continues.  I'm not sure how this obsession started or why it persists.  I do know that I almost never eat real sandwiches (two pieces of bread with some stuff in between).  I eat maybe 2 or 3 a month?  And those are usually cheese-centric - buttered and grilled.

But food atop bread products, open-faced and over-stuffed?  Yes, please.
On Friday night, I did a take on a dish I have already featured: Greens and White Beans on Toast.  Greens and white beans were meant for each other; they are like Prom King & Queen of the veggie-legume world.  This classic Italian pairing is also excellent atop pasta or polenta.  On Friday, we did a version with cannellini beans and Swiss chard from the box.
 The last time I made this dish, I used some lovely braising greens from our box.  Those cook up in a minute or two, but chard takes a bit longer.  Plus, chard can take a bit of heat - it's great for soups and stews because it retains an element of structure even when simmered for a while.  It's not so delicate.
 So here it is - the recipe re-posted and specific to chard.  If you use a quicker-cooking green, such as spinach or a mixture of braising greens, as I did the last time I made this, reduce the greens cooking time from about 7 minutes to around 2.  Watch like a hawk so you don't end up with a slumpy food-on-toast experience.  And please - if you've not eaten food on toast in this manner, give it a try!  Here are a couple of links to other food-on-toast recipes on my blog:

Eggs and Asparagus on Feta Toast here.

Asparagus and Leeks on Cheese Toast here.

Braised Greens & White Beans on Toast
Adapted from Deborah Madison

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, 1 peeled and sliced in half, 1 minced (alternatively, use a couple of stalks of green garlic for one of the cloves)
1 pound of mixed braising greens (chard, spinach, etc), chopped if the leaves are large (I used chard and sliced it into ribbons)
1/2 cup veggie broth or water (I used water this time)
1 15 oz can white beans (such as cannellini)
splash of balsamic vinegar (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
4 thick slices of rustic bread (I used a pugliese)
grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the minced garlic and saute for about 1 minutes (if using green garlic, up it to 3 minutes). Add the greens (don't worry too much about drying them off after washing them - the water helps them cook) and stir until they wilt. Add salt to taste. Once they have wilted, add the veggie broth or water; cover, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for about 7 minutes for chard or kale, less time if your greens are more delicate. A little liquid in the pan at the end is a good thing. 

Meanwhile, toast the bread. While it is still hot, rub with the cut side of the sliced garlic. When the greens are cooked, add the beans and cook until they are heated through. Add the balsamic vinegar and butter if you are using, then season with S&P to taste and stir everything well. Spoon the beans and greens evenly over the bread, and top with grated parmesan.

This meal should serve two generously, 3 to 4 as a component dish.

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