CASSOULET BEANS AND SPINACH ON TOAST

CASSOULET BEANS AND SPINACH ON TOAST

A number of years ago my friend Lynn gave me a copy of Judy Roger’s The Zuni Café Cookbook (W.W.Norton & Company, New York, 2002). It inspired me in many ways, but mostly to become more adventurous with flavor. I learned that the simplest of dishes can contain the most satisfying flavors. Roger’s shared a recipe for boiled kale that led me to many dishes involving boiled kale and other greens.

Having some wonderful cooked Cassoulet beans on hand, (see recipe Cassoulet Beans) I decided to put them together with some spinach and serve it over thick slices of toasted multi-grain bread. The broth from the beans made a flavorful liquid in which to cook the spinach and to heat the beans. There is plenty of garlic and onions in the beans to give the dish some robust flavor. The crunchy toast contrasts with the silky topping, especially if the bread has seeds on top.

You can use any greens that you like, kale, spinach, chard, leafy endive, etc. Just adjust the cooking time to suit the tenderness of the greens. The amount of greens depends upon how much cooked beans and broth you have on hand and how many servings you want to make. About one to two cups of fresh greens per serving is a good guide.

INGREDIENTS
• ¾ cup of cooked Cassoulet beans per serving
• ½ cup of broth from the cooked beans per serving
• 1-2 cups of fresh washed and chopped greens per serving
• Pinch of chili flakes
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 piece of multi-grain bread, sliced thick and toasted per serving

METHOD
Ladle the broth into a saucepan over med-low heat. Add the fresh greens and the chili flakes and cook until the greens have wilted into a mass. Obviously kale takes longest, spinach cooks in a flash, and the others somewhere in between. Add the beans and simmer until the beans are heated. Taste for seasoning.

TO SERVE
Toast the bread until it is quite crunchy and place in a shallow bowl or a rimmed plate. Spoon the beans and greens over the bread and serve. It goes well with a few Kalamata olives and a fresh pear for dessert.

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