Sunday, September 25, 2011

Warmed Tomatoes and Basil over Garlicky Greens

This was a let's-cook-whatever's-in-the-fridge dish, and yet the flavors turned out to be perfectly balanced and wonderfully complex. You could use just regular sweet basil if you didn't have both kinds (and maybe try adding just a bit more sherry vinegar to compensate for losing the hint of lemon).

Olive oil
1 slice multigrain bread, chopped into small croutons
1 cup cooked and well-drained chickpeas and/or cannellini beans
1 clove garlic, sliced
2-3 large handfuls fava greens, amaranth greens, or spinach
1 tsp sherry vinegar, divided
Salt and black pepper
Ñora pepper
6-10 fresh sweet basil leaves
2-3 medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 rounded tsp chopped lemon basil

Heat a large, nonstick frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add a generous glug of olive oil and swirl around the pan. Add the bread and toss to coat lightly, then shift to the side of the pan and scatter the beans on the other side (everything should be just one layer thick). Toast, shaking or stirring occasionally, until everything begins to turn golden brown.

Turn the heat down slightly, add the garlic and a bit more olive oil, and toss to combine. Saute for about a minute, then add the greens and saute until they begin to wilt. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add a few dashes of ñora pepper if you have it, drizzle with 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar, and throw in the basil leaves. Stir a few times, then serve into bowls.

Replace the pan on the heat, add about 1 tbsp olive oil, then slide the tomatoes in and sprinkle with salt. Saute for about a minute, stirring occasionally (you basically just want to warm them up without really cooking them). Add the lemon basil, a little black pepper, and a half tsp (or just a little more) of sherry vinegar. Saute for about another minute or until the tomatoes are just barely warmed through, then serve over the beans.

Garnish with basil, and serve hot.

Serves 2 for lunch, or pair with a salad and bread for dinner.

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