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White Bean and Arugula Crostini

Like bruschetta, these rustic “little toasts” are a popular antipasto. You can use canned beans, but if you can find jars of imported Italian cannellini beans, they will deliver a more authentic flavor. Best of all, of course, is home-cooked beans, so if you prepare a pot of white beans as a side dish, cook extra beans and use about 2 cups to make these crostini the next day. Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or diced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes can be used in place of the arugula.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling 
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped yellow onion 
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped carrot 
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped celery 
  • 1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 1 baguette 
  • 2 cups baby arugula leaves 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

In a fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté until the onion is golden and the carrots and celery have softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the beans, season with salt and pepper, and stir well to combine. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, cut the baguette on the diagonal into 18 slices each 1/2 inch thick. (You may not need the whole loaf.) Arrange the bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet and brush the tops lightly with olive oil. Bake until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Arrange the toasts on a serving platter or divide among individual plates. Spoon the beans on the toasts, dividing them evenly. Drizzle generously with olive oil, then top with the arugula. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).