Summer entertaining should be effortless and easy. Thin slices of toasted or grilled bread can be the perfect vehicle for all sorts of flavorful spreads and toppings to start your meal or kick off your next cocktail party. The Italians must know something, as they often choose to serve crostini as the opening act when they entertain, especially during the summer time.
Crostini with cannellini beans and tomato relish is a super easy appetizer that utilizes the humble bean, which is full of protein and makes a healthy addition to everyone’s diet. The crostini can be enjoyed just with this delicious bean spread, but they are even better when topped with ripe, summer tomatoes which are at their peak right now.
For this recipe I used a can of beans, but in the winter I often soak dry beans overnight so they are soft and ready to cook in the morning. Either way, once the beans are ready, a food processor is all you need to mix all the ingredients to a smooth consistency. The spread will keep well in the refrigerator for five days or so, but it is doubtful you will have any leftovers!
- 4 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil
- 4 med. garlic cloves, cut in half
- 1 (15oz.) can of cannellini beans (rinsed & drained)
- 1½ TBSP. fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp. dry Greek oregano
- 1 TBSP. Italian parsley, chopped
- ¼- ½ tsp. sea salt
- --- pinch of pepper
- --- thin slices of baguette, toasted or grilled
- Simple Tomato Relish
- ½ cup plum tomato, seeded and finely minced
- 2 TBSP. red onion, finely minced
- 1 TBSP. Italian parsley, finely minced
- --- salt & pepper to taste
- In a small skillet, warm the olive oil under medium heat and sauté lightly the garlic, until soft and translucent.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cannellini beans, the warm olive oil and the sautéed garlic, the lemon juice, oregano and parsley and process until smooth. Season, with salt and pepper and process once more. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- To make the simple tomato relish, mix the minced tomatoes, red onion and parsley in a small bowl, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Spread some of the bean mixture on toasted slices of baguette, top with some tomato relish and serve.
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