Whether you use dandelion greens, as I did here, spinach, kale or collards, this dish that is very satisfying. Especially if you add tomatoes slow-baked in the oven until they are just “melted,” topped with breadcrumbs and a little olive oil. If you like, sprinkle on some Parmigiano-Reggiano, too. Crusty bread is just about all this dish needs to be a meal
Greens and Beans
1 cup white beans, such as French flageolets, small white beans, navy beans or cannellini beans
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
Roasted Tomatoes (recipe follows)
Salt, to taste
Pinch of white pepper
3 tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
3 cups greens, such as spinach or dandelion, cut or torn into 3-4-inch pieces
2 large tomatoes, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
Garlic salt, to taste
4 tablespoons soft breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of white or black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
For the beans: Soak the beans in a medium-large cooking pot for an hour or so. Drain off water and add fresh water to cover by at least 3 inches. Add the garlic and thyme. Put on medium-low heat and cook until they are tender. Remove the thyme twigs (the leaves will have cooked off) when they are done.
For the tomatoes: While the beans are cooking, turn the oven on to 275 degrees. Put the tomato halves, cut sides up, in a baking dish. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt. Toss the breadcrumbs in the olive oil, and add pepper and Parmigiano-Reggiano, if using. Divide the mixture for topping each tomato half. Put the tomatoes uncovered into the oven and let them bake.
When the beans are done, there should be enough liquid left to make a small (maybe a cup or so) of thick, soupy broth. If the water cooks down as you cook the beans, it is OK to add a little more. Just try to have about a cup of the liquid left by the time the beans are tender. While the beans are still hot in the broth, season them with salt and pepper and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Stir gently. With the beans at a low simmer, put in the greens and stir them in gently. They will turn a pretty, bright green color as they wilt. You want these to cook until tender, but not so that they lose their fresh color. (Not more than a minute or two.)
Taste the beans and greens for seasoning. Serve in bowls and drizzle a little more of the olive oil on top. Put one or two of the roasted tomatoes on the side.
From Bonnie Walker