MEATLESS MONDAY: White Bean Bruschetta
Welcome to 2011, folks! The start of a new year, filled with resolutions, time spent with loved ones, and joy! I love this time of year because it always seems like everyone is at peace. More importantly, it is a time for me to reflect on the past year and create goals for how I can improve as a person, a brother, a son, a friend, and a blogger for the upcoming year.
I have a lot of things planned for this year, as far as the blog goes, and I hope you all enjoy reading Vivek’s Epicurean Adventures and continue to offer your great feedback and comments. I can’t even begin to name all of the incredible people I have met. I hope to continue that relationship and build new ones as we move along into the new year.
So, what better to start off the new year than with a great appetizer. I made this for a holiday party/wine tasting a few weeks ago and it’s really a great, well balanced and easy to execute appetizer. Toasted french bread with a creamy puree of white beans is luxurious and flavorful. Topped with a raw butternut squash and radish salad takes this simple dish to a higher level by introducing a fresh, crunchy, and acidic element that balances the creaminess of the white beans. Together, this is a very harmonious dish that is a great way to kick off 2011.
White Bean Bruschetta with Butternut Squash & Radish Salad
(Recipe Courtesy of Vivek Surti, Vivek’s Epicurean Adventures)
1 french baguette, cut into 1/4 or 1/2 inch slices
1 can white cannelini beans
1/2 white onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of butter, unsalted
1 cup of butternut squash, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 cup of watermelon radish (or daikon radish or red radish), sliced into matchsticks
1/4 cup of salad turnips, sliced into matchsticks (optional)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
First, make the toasted bread. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay out the bread on a sheet pan and drizzle the slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until they are golden brown and crunchy, about ten minutes. Once you have pulled them out, take a whole clove of garlic and rub it on each slice about 2-3 times. This will make the bread taste amazing.
Second, make the white bean puree. Get a pan over medium high heat and add a little bit of olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and cook until it is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a minute until fragrant. Drain and rinse the beans of the liquid in the can, and then add to the pan. Season everything with salt and pepper. If the mixture gets dry, add just a little bit of water to the pan. Once the beans are heated through, about 3-4 minutes, add the butter and let melt.
Transfer everything to a food processor and pulse until pureed. You may need to add about 1/4 cup of water to get everything going. I would just add a tablespoon of water at a time until it comes to the perfect consistency. Taste the puree and re season the puree accordingly, if it needs more salt.
Third, make the salad. Combine the butternut squash, radish, and salad turnips in a bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, nutmeg, and parsley and toss everything together. Drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil and toss again to combine. Season the salad with salt and pepper right before you are about to serve to preserve the crunchiness of the vegetables.
Lastly, to assemble the bruschetta: take the toasted bread and smear some white bean puree on top. Then top the puree with a little bit of the raw vegetable salad. Eat and enjoy!
Hope you all enjoy the recipe! What was your favorite holiday appetizer this year?