You may wonder how anything that sounds like mashed beans and wilted greens on bread can be good, but it is better than good—it is wonderful. This dish originates in Apulia, in the south of Italy, and is a peasant snack that feeds your soul as well as your tummy. I use it as a centerpiece in a simple antipasto plate accompanied by a few slices of coppa, strips of pecorino fresco, peperonata, olives, and some slices of tomato, or in winter sun-dried tomatoes.
Soak the white beans in water overnight. Drain and rinse. Cover the beans with fresh water and cook until very soft. Drain if necessary. Puree the beans in the food processor or mash well with a fork. Add
Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil, then grill or broil the slices until golden and toasted on both sides. Rub the hot bread with the cut garlic, spread with the bean puree, and top with the wilted chopped greens.
© 1998 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.