Grilled Artisan Bread w/ White Beans and Wilted Greens

Joyce Goldstein is the only person I know who can talk about how to make a white bean sexy. The award-winning chef and cookbook author recently demonstrated how to “sex up a bean.”

Joyce’ s grilled Pugliese bread with white beans and wilted greens is a recipe that hits the mark. The photo above shows our version, which involved slathering the pureed beans onto slices of an Italian country bread we baked just for this purpose.

The dish hails from Puglia, located in the heel of Italy’s boot. The region represents something of an epicenter for the Mediterranean diet. May, by the way, happens to be “Mediterranean month,” a healthy eating campaign and recipe contest promoted by our friends at the food think tank Oldways.

During a cooking demonstration at a recent healthy cooking conference, Joyce explained that the people of Puglia eat lots of beans and greens.

She added that most people don’t consider beans on their own to be terribly exciting. “Beans by themselves need some help,” explained Joyce, as she prepared to add sautéed garlic and extra virgin olive oil to pureed white beans. “What we do is sex up a bean.”

Joyce noted the EVOO “will add some richness and texture to the beans and make them taste really, really, really good. Once you put some spiced greens on top you change their personality.” (We made the dish using our Everyday California EVOO and would have to agree with Joyce’s assessment.)

To spice up the greens — you can use escarole, broccoli rabe, dandelion, or chard — Joyce first sautés them in EVOO until they start to wilt. She adds some red wine vinegar. The cooked greens are chopped.

The sliced bread is brushed with EVOO and grilled or placed under a broiler. The grilled bread is then topped with the bean puree and some greens.

We prepared it using an Italian country bread named for the small Italian town of Genzano, near Rome. The bread recipe comes from baker Daniel Leader’s excellent book Local Breads (W.W. Norton & Co., 2007). I recently wrote about Leader’s  rosemary and olive oil bread on our chef’s blog.

We’ve sent the photo of our Genzano bread over to the YeastSpotting section of the popular baking blog, Wild Yeast. We hope their readers will be inspired to try our recipes, too.

Bon appétit,

Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch