White bean crostini with oven-crisp kale

Serves: 4
Course: Starter
Cooking Time: 1 hr 0 mins
  • 250g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in plenty of water
  • 1 carrot, peeled and halved
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, left whole with skin on
  • 100ml olive oil
  • few chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • small bunch kale or cavalo nero, washed
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Few sprigs thyme
  • Small baguette, loaf, sliced and brushed with olive oil
  • Drizzle of olive oil, to serve

Preheat an oven to 170 degrees/gas 3. First, prepare the puree. Cook the soaked beans in boiling water with the carrot, celery, 50ml olive oil and the garlic. Make sure the water is never more than one inch above the beans; this concentrates the flavour for the puree.

Simmer until tender – usually about an hour.

Drain the beans, remove the celery and carrot, and blitz the beans in a food blender with the other 50ml olive oil and the flesh of the garlic, squeezed gently from the skins. Season well with some balsamic vinegar, chilli flakes and thyme, plus some salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, chop the kale/cavalo nero roughly and bake it with a little olive oil and some salt.

Cook until crisp around the edges – about 10 to 15 minutes – tossing regularly to avoid the edges burning. At the same time, bake the baguette slices until just golden; you don’t want them too dry.

To serve, spoon some of the puree onto the baguette slices and top with the crispy kale and a drizzle of olive oil.

Domini Kemp

Domini Kemp

Domini Kemp, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a chef and food writer