Toasty white beans and ricotta ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

22 April 2011

Toasty white beans and ricotta

Heidi's toasty beans have become such a staple at our house, it's not even funny. Sometimes we do the chard version from Super Natural Cooking; sometimes we do the kale version above. However, more often we throw whatever aromatic veg we have on hand into a pan, add the beans, and come up with our own toasty toasty goodness. Everyone loves toasty bean goodness.

This time I had garlic, shallot, jalapeño, orange bell pepper, and parsley. I also had cooked white beans and dry vermouth. Clearly, nice toasty beans with vegetables, deglazed with vermouth, were the answer.

An aside: yes, we love vermouth. We totally use more dry vermouth than anyone else I've ever met. We are the non-martini bar reason those huge bottles of vermouth even exist. Yay vermouth!

When I make pan-toasted beans without greens, however, it's sometimes possible to end up with a slightly dry finished product. Adding a bit of oil at the end of cooking doesn't usually cut it. So I checked out the refrigerator for a solution. What could be a better solution than ricotta?

Toasty white beans: yet another variation

olive oil
jalapeño/other hot pepper
bell pepper
cooked white beans
dry vermouth
salt, pepper
ricotta or reasonable substitute

Super easy!

Warm olive oil in a wide sauté pan; add chopped garlic, shallot, and/or any other member of the onion family you may wish to use. If you want spicy beans, add chopped jalapeño as well. When everything has softened and become super-aromatic, add some chopped bell pepper. I had orange bell pepper, which was sufficiently exciting for me, but red or yellow should be fine as well. I personally prefer to avoid green pepper here, but you can use it if it floats your boat.

Add a handful of chopped parsley and a pinch of salt, and cook for about five minutes, or until all the vegetables are soft. Now it is time for beans. Drain the cooked beans well (I generally use a slotted spoon) and deposit them gently into the pan. Do not crowd them! You want your beans to have plenty of space, so they can take full advantage of the heat and actually get crispy. I find that three big spoonfuls of beans will just cover the bottom of my pan. If you want more beans, you may want to cook them in batches.

Anyway. Deposit beans into pan; toss to coat well in the now-spicy oil. Maybe add a drizzle more oil if things look dry. Let the beans get crispy and golden on one side; toss to flip and cook the other side.

When your beans have a lovely golden crust all over, quickly deglaze the pan. Just pour in a slug of dry vermouth and give the pan a quick toss & scrape. Yay toasty brown pan bits!

When the liquid has evaporated, you are done. Taste, salt and pepper, and add any extra chopped parsley you may have lying around. Serve with (or without; it's ok!) a big scoop of ricotta on top.

I ate my toasty beans and ricotta with garlic-sautéed squash, and all was right with the world.


Jes said...

I'm missing out, never made toasty beans, which means I really oughta make 'em stat!

Rebecca said...

I too have been missing out for MY WHOLE LIFE. I think I am locked into dinner plans for tonight-tomorrow-Tuesday, but then there will be toasty beans.

Eileen said...

Yes! Everyone should make toasty beans; they're super cheap and super delicious all in one delightful package. Hooray!

management said...

I made these for a friend of mine last week. I may have messed up the deglazing bit. Also, I used red wine instead of vermouth. Was that bad? I don't know. Anyhow, it tasted okay, but not great. Maybe I just don't know about deglazing.

management said...

On the upside, I had a bunch of friends over that night, and we talked, and drank wine while I cooked, and it reminded me that that is one of my favoritest things ever and why don't I do that more? I'm going to do that more. And it is in part thanks to your recipes!

Eileen said...

Hmm. I don't like using red wine to deglaze; since it doesn't really have a chance to cook down, it's often really strong in the finished dish. I haven't tried red wine with white beans, either. I have had plenty of lentils braised in red wine, which is good; the wine cooks much longer and mellows out a lot. This isn't the exact recipe, but it's close:

Honestly, if you have no dry whites available, you could just use a splash of water and a pat of butter to deglaze.

Even if it didn't work out exactly as planned, I'm glad you are cooking and hanging out with people! Food as social gathering! Yay!

management said...

The toasty element of the toasty beans didn't come through, which I attribute to not having wittingly made toasty beans before.

Actually, I think I have made toasty beans, just not deliberately. And it is good. I was probably just distracted by the nice people who were talking. Nobody's fault! Maybe I should try again soon.

Yes, the wine didn't taste right. Also, this is not a household that has really any extra food casually lying around. So no vermouth. I have dimly perceived that a successful kitchen requires enough extra food to inspire improvisation. Some soup stock, frozen vegetables put away for the summer, salad dressing material, quick pancakes. And so on. But I am afraid to get too much food that I might be tempted to throw away when we move again. But that is me and my foibles, nothing else.