Monday, September 24, 2012
Bruschetta Recipe: White Bean Puree, Prosciutto, and Arugula
Saturday was my friend's annual bruschetta off, and I was really proud of my entry. It's pretty darn tasty and full of healthy ingredients.
Make about 40 toasts
1 cup dried white beans
2 quarts of water
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 bay leaf
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1 loaf French bread
5-6 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 bag of arugula (about 3 cups)
I followed a New York Times recipe for the puree using great northern beans, though cannellini would work, too It took a long time, but it was all pretty easy.
For the puree: soak 1 cup of white beans overnight (or 6 hours) in a quart of water and then drain and rinse. Return the soaked beans to a medium sauce pan and add a fresh quart of water, 1 medium onion (sliced in half w/ skin removed), 2 cloves garlic (also w/ skin removed), and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil, drop down to a simmer, cover, and let cook for about an hour. Add salt (approximately 1 tsp.), cover, and simmer for another half hour to an hour or until very tender. Reserve 1/2 cup liquid and then drain the beans.
For the arugula dressing: while the beans are cooking, take the juice of half a lemon (reserve the other half for the puree), add 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil (depending on how lemony you like your salad dressing), a peeled and slightly smooshed garlic clove, and some salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/4 tsp. coarse salt and five or six grinds of pepper). Mix it up and let it sit for several hours. Remove the garlic clove before using. This made a lot of dressing, but I only used about two tablespoons for a whole bag of arugula and saved the rest for salads.
And back to the puree: when the beans are tender, mash a clove of garlic in a bowl or mortar and pestle with a 1/4 tsp. salt. Then, puree the cooked and drained beans with the mashed garlic in a food processor. With the machine running, add 2 Tbs. bean broth, 2 Tbs. olive oil, and 2 Tbs. lemon juice. If it's not creamy enough, you can add another tablespoon or two of bean broth. The final puree should be light and creamy. You can stop here and serve it as a dip with pita chips or veggies, or go full force with the bruschetta . . .
On to the bruschetta: slice the bread 1/2" thick, brush with olive oil, and lightly toast. I used my Foreman grill, but a real grill would be even better. Your toaster will work, too.
Since I was serving my bruschetta elsewhere, I let the toasts cool and then packed them in an air-tight container. The oil kept them from getting too hard, so don't toast them ahead of time if you prefer your bread dry.
To assemble it all, put the bean puree on the toasts (about 1 Tbs. on each) and top with a thin slice of prosciutto, a few thin slices of red onion, and the arugula (lightly dressed at the last minute). You can also make some without the prosciutto for vegetarians.
The competition was fierce, but I placed near the top (the winning baby portobello mushroom and caramelized onion bruschetta certainly got my vote) and was happy to provide a healthy option.
The white bean puree is high in protein and fiber, olive oil is a healthy fat, arugula contains tons of vitamins, and red onions contain the bioflavonoid quercetin. You can serve this on gluten-free or vegan bread (with the vegetarian version, of course) if you or your guests have special dietary needs.