Everyone likes an easy appetizer during the holidays. This White Bean Bruschetta can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for a day or two until needed. Bring to room temperature before topping the toast rounds.
“If you really want to make this dish in no time, pop open a can,” James Peterson writes in his new cookbook, “Kitchen Simple” (Ten Speed Press, $30). “Otherwise you can cook dried beans, which means this is no longer a quick dish. But if you have the time (about 2 hours), there’s really very little work involved and the beans will have a nicer flavor and texture.
“Dried beans are usually soaked overnight, but this isn’t necessary; it just cuts the cooking time by about 30 minutes. When cooking beans, don’t add the salt at the beginning as this can make them touch. on the other hand, if you add it at the very end, it won’t get absorbed into the beans. So a good compromise is to add it halfway through the cooking. you can serve the beans hot, as a simple salad, or as suggested here, atop little toasts.”
White Bean Bruschetta
1 cup dried beans, such as navy, cannellini, borlotti or other white bean
2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 bunch parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 slices baguette, cut on an angle
Put the beans in a pot with enough water to cover by about 3 inches. Add the garlic. Tie together the thyme, bay leaf and parsley with a loose string and submerge the bundle in the beans. Simmer until a test bean is soft to the tooth, about an hour or two. Thirty minutes into the cooking, add the salt and add water as necessary if the beans begin to dry out. The goal is to have all the water evaporate at the instant the beans are done.
Transfer the beans to a mixing bowl and mix in the oil. Season to taste with pepper and let cool. Add more salt if necessary. Toast the bread on both sides under the broiler. Spoon the beans onto the toasts and serve.
Makes 12 hors d’oeuvres.
From “Kitchen Simple” by James Peterson