Spinach and butter bean stew on bruschetta with truffle oil

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    as a lunchtime main course
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes

Vegetables

By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

Bruschetta hails from Italy, and it’s really just toast with garlic and olive oil rubbed into it. Simple as that sounds, it’s a satisfying thing, much in the way that toast itself is. The stew is very simple to knock up, and if you don’t have butter beans, then just use any beans you have in the cupboard – even baked beans would work! You can cook your beans from scratch, it will just take a lot longer. If you don’t have truffle oil – and don’t despair if you don’t – then drizzle with the best extra-virgin or lemon-scented olive oil you have.

Ingredients

  • 2 white onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, 3 sliced and 1 kept whole but peeled
  • 1 bay leaf, quartered
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pinches of chilli flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped oregano
  • 400 g tin of butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 250 g spinach (if you’re using large-leaf spinach, then roughly chop the leaves)
  • 4 large slices of good hearty bread (sourdough will give the best results)
  • 4 teaspoons truffle oil (I prefer white truffle oil)
  • large handful of shaved or grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese

Method

In a wide pan, sauté the onions, the sliced garlic and the bay leaf in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, until they beginning to caramelize. Add the chilli flakes and herbs, and cook a further minute, stirring often. Add the butter beans, 250 ml water and the soy sauce. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 8 minutes.

Using the back of a spoon or a potato masher, smash about a quarter of the beans – they don’t need to be smooth, but just broken up a bit. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more soy sauce or salt, if necessary. Then mix in the spinach and stir until it has wilted.

Toast the bread in a toaster, under the grill or on the barbecue, and rub the slices with the whole garlic clove, then drizzle with the remaining olive oil.

To Serve

Place a bruschetta on each plate, divide the bean stew on top and then drizzle with the truffle oil and sprinkle with the cheese.