I love the variety and flexibility of bruschetta. Served with a salad, fresh fruit, and a robust wine, this appetizer becomes a wonderfully light and satisfying main meal. As a variation, consider topping the beans with grilled radicchio, sauteed zucchini, or seared baby spinach and capers.
2 c. cooked cannellini beans (or 2 15 oz. cans)
5 T. extra virgin olive oil
5 T. good quality balsamic vinegar
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
3 T. basil leaves (chiffonade)
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
salt and pepper
2-4 slices of day old rustic bread, grilled or toasted
Mix olive oil, vinegar, and pepper flakes in a bowl. With a small whisk mix rapidly to emulsify into a creamy dressing. This should take about 15 seconds and insures that the emulsified dressing will coat the beans.
Add the garlic, then fold in the beans and basil, reserving a little of the basil for garnishing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for a few minutes while you grill or toast the bread.
To assemble, spoon the beans onto toasted bread, drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with fresh basil.
Note: When I can, I use fresh cannellini beans. They hold their shape and texture better than canned. If using canned beans, be sure to rinse them well, and handle them very gently. Canned beans have a softer texture and can quickly turn into a mash if mishandled.