White Bean Crostini with Garlic Kale

White beans, kale and garlic are sauteed in plenty of olive oil and topped with Parmesan cheese make a quick lunch when served over toasted slices of baguette. Try tossing the mixture with hot pasta for a vegetarian dinner.

Dan Saklad, co-owner of Whisk Carolina in Cary, frequently makes this hot white bean and garlic kale crostini when gathering with friends or relatives.

The simple, flavorful and versatile dish is also perfect for a simple lunch or dinner with the family. Try spreading toasted bread with ricotta or cream cheese and topping with the garlicky beans. Or for dinner, toss the beans and kale with hot pasta and more Parmesan cheese. If you have leftover grilled chicken, why not throw that in the mix, too.

“Make sure that the ingredients you use are fresh, and the flavors are exciting,” said Saklad. “When you do that, everyone is happy.”

White Bean Crostini with Garlic Kale
Courtesy of Whisk Carolina
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer, serves 4 for lunch or dinner

12 small Tuscan kale leaves (about ¼ pound total)
2 tablespoons peppery extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 baguette
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Optional: Shaved Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut away and discard the central rib from each kale leaf, and chop the leaves coarsely. In a large frying pan over high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the kale leaves and cook, stirring often, until they wilt and sizzle in the hot oil, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and broth, cover and cook until the leaves are tender but still hold their shape, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the baguette on the diagonal into 14 slices, each ½ inch thick. (Reserve the remainder for another use.) Arrange the slices on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast in the oven until crisp, turning them once, about 5 minutes total. Remove from the oven and set aside.

When the kale leaves are tender, push them to one side of the pan, and add the beans to the other side. Season with red pepper flakes and salt, and simmer until the broth is mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes. Using a fork, stir together the beans and greens, and roughly mash them until the mixture just holds together. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.

Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of the beans and greens mixture on top of each toast, and drizzle with olive oil. Arrange on a platter or individual plates, garnish with shaved Parmesan and serve immediately.

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