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Food Network Favorites: Bruschetta with White Bean Purée

Another recipe from Michael Chiarello where the proportions are a bit weird. This simple bean purée ended up tasting more like the olive tapenade that's mixed into it. And a bit of "restaurant-itis" sneaks into the ingredients list.

The first ingredient is "3/4 cup cooked white marrow or other white beans." Well, sure. I always have cooked beans just lying around. Ahem. In fairness, the "Kitchen Tip" does say that you can use canned beans instead. But 3/4 cup is about half of a 14.5-oz. can. What am I supposed to do with the rest of the beans? And is a purée made with only 3/4 cup of beans really going to yield 8 to 10 servings, as the recipe says it will?

I didn't think so. The recipe made with only 3/4 cup of beans and 2 Tbsp of olive paste was overwhelmingly olive flavored, and only produced about 1/2 cup of purée. That's 1 Tbsp of purée per serving, which isn't very generous. I got much better results by using the entire 14.5-oz. can of beans with the same amount of olive tapenade. This purée actually tasted mostly of beans, with just a hint of olive flavor. And the yield was much better: 1 cup of purée, for 2 Tbsp per serving.

The recipe below uses my revised amounts. If you actually do happen to have cooked white beans lying around your kitchen, use 1 1/2 cups.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: about 10 minutes, for the bread
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

14.5-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
Chicken or vegetable broth, as needed
2 Tbsp olive tapenade
3 Tbsp minced fresh thyme, plus sprigs for garnish, if desired
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 tsp grey salt or other sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf Italian bread
2 cloves garlic, peeled

For the purée: Combine the beans with a small amount of broth in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the olive paste and minced thyme and blend again. With the machine running, add the olive oil and salt and pepper. Transfer the purée to a serving dish and garnish with sprigs of thyme, if desired.

For the bruschetta: Cut the bread into thick slices. Toast or grill until lightly brown and crisp. Rub the bread slices with the garlic cloves, then drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Spread the white bean purée on the bruschetta and finish with a small pinch of salt.



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