Cannelli beans on toast with crispy kale
PREP TIME 20 minutes
COOK TIME 15 minutes
I love this dish. It’s hearty but light and the kale adds a real intensity of flavour – as well as a great contrast in texture – that cuts through the sweetness of the beans and tomatoes. It’s a perfect way to refuel after an energetic start to the day and makes a great lunch. The bread is important here; you need a good-quality, substantial loaf so that it can soak up the juices and flavours without disintegrating. In winter, when the kale is still in peak condition, this recipe will work perfectly well with a couple of canned plum tomatoes, too.
The bread is important here; you need a good-quality, substantial loaf so that it can soak up the juices and flavours without disintegrating
4 really fresh eggs
100g curly kale, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
grated zest of 1 lemon
4 good-size tomatoes, or 8-10 cherry tomatoes, cored if necessary and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1-2 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped from the stems
400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
bread, for toasting – 1-2 slices each, depending on appetite and the heftiness of your bread
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4. Fill a pan with no less than 5cm of water and crack the eggs into ramekins. Bring the water to a gentle simmer, then carefully slide the eggs into the water and cook for 3 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a plate and set aside. Leave the water over a low heat.
- Put the kale in a bowl then add 2 tablespoons of the oil, the lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon of salt and massage this into the leaves. Next, spread the leaves out over the bottom of a large roasting pan or baking sheet and cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes, turning once or twice during cooking, until crisp. Remove and set aside.
- Meanwhile, warm the remaining oil in a pan. Add the tomatoes to the pan along with the garlic and thyme. Cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the tomatoes have started to break down a little and some of their juices have been driven off – you don’t want the mixture to be too watery. Add the beans to the pan and gently warm through, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Toast your bread. Slide the eggs back into the simmering water and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels. Place the toast on to warmed plates, spoon over the beans, then sprinkle over the crispy kale. Top with the poached eggs, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and serve.
Gardeners in the UK seem to take particular pride in their tomatoes. Perhaps it is because, with our unreliable summers, it can be so hard to get ones grown outside to ripen before they are struck by blight. Planting this annual crop in a pot can help: not only are courtyards and other confined spaces often a little warmer than a garden, but the tomatoes can be moved around to catch the best of the heat and the sun. It is definitely worth trying. The smell and taste of a home-grown tomato ripened by the sun is beyond compare.