Thursday, June 29, 2017
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Garden to table 05-03-17

When I was in the British Isles one of the foods I noticed they ate frequently was “Beans on Toast.” For the Irish, that often meant canned, baked beans on wholemeal bread. It reminded me of one of our Southern favorites - beans, of most any kind, on top of a piece of cornbread. When I saw this recipe, while thumbing through a cook book looking for ways to use the army of asparagus that keeps marching into my kitchen, I decided to try it. I almost always “tweek” any recipe I find to suit my health needs and taste, so feel free to take “artistic license” when you create this dish at home. Make it as a light lunch or supper and put something fresh and raw with it for a complete meal.

As always I recommend using organic products when available.

2 tsp. butter (or oil of your choice)

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small carrot, grated

1 14 oz. can cannellini beans, or other white beans, drained and rinsed (or use any beans you may have frozen from last summer)

2/3 cup half and half (or use stock if you need to avoid dairy)

6-8 spears asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

2 slices cornbread or whole wheat bread, toasted

salt and black pepper to taste

1 tsp. fresh lemon thyme leaves, or dried

Sliced green onions or radish for garnish (optional)

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add onion and carrot and fry over a moderate to low heat until soft (about 4 minutes).

Add beans to onion and carrot and gently mix.

Pour in the half and half and heat slowly just below boiling point, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat, cool slightly, taste and add thyme and salt and pepper if desired. Cover skillet and set aside to stay warm.

Poach the asparagus until crisp-tender in just enough boiling water to cover. (The amount of time will depend on the freshness and size of the asparagus. Just test for doneness by sticking a paring knife into a spear. ) Cool asparagus down in a ice-water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside. Just before serving, add to the beans to re-warm, gently.

Toast your bread until golden under a broiler, I use my toaster oven to avoid heating the big oven for such a small task.

Place toasted bread on individual plates. Divide the cooked asparagus and beans between the bread and serve. Garnish with sliced green onions, radish or any other fresh, raw vegetable that you like.


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