There are only four bodies in the kitchen at Roman's and when we get in at noon, we're usually all starving, so one of us will make something for the other three. Typically we trade off this responsibility, which often gets decided by three of us begging the fourth to cook up something.
“Real” family meal with the front of the house (three servers and a bartender, manager, and occasionally the owner) happens at 4pm when Executive Chef Dave Gould sits down with the waitstaff to discuss the menu, which changes every night. For this family meal, we usually make something more substantial with a salad, starch, and protein that resembles an entree from the previous night's menu... but I think we cooks really enjoy the early morning family meal together. It's time for us to show our love and respect by cooking for each other and since it's only us four, it's a smaller, more intimate experience.
Beans and greens are what we're craving after nibbling raw mise en place, pan sauces and partially cooked pastas throughout the dinner rush the night before. At Roman's we have a unique way of cooking beans -- a three-step method that may seem tedious but renders the borlotti beans creamy and well seasoned without having to soak them overnight. We use the leftover beans to make this toast dish; sometimes we throw a fried egg on top or just scatter on some shaved Parmesan or even just olive oil and sea salt.
Borlotti Beans on Toast with Greens
Adapted from Roman's in Brooklyn, New York
Serves four, with lots of leftover beans.
- For the beans:
- 3 cups dried borlotti beans (also called cranberry or, appropriately, Roman beans)
- 3 dried chiles de arbol, broken in half
- 1 sprig of sage
- 3 garlic cloves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the toasts:
- 2 big handfuls of green -- tatsoi, arugula, or puntarelle
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 slices of good bread, we like filone
- shaved Parmesan
1. Dump beans into a medium-sized pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Drain the water from the beans and cover again with cold water, throw in a handful of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer the beans over medium low heat until they are al dente -- about 2/3 of the way done. Remove the beans from the cooking liquid.
2. In a new pot, heat a couple of glugs of olive oil (3 tablespoons or so). Pop open the garlic cloves and toast then in the oil until lightly golden brown. Add the dried chiles and sage and let sizzle before adding the beans to the pot. Cover with cold water, season with salt and pepper, and simmer until the beans are soft while still retaining the integrity of their shape. We like to let the beans hang out in their liquid for a long as possible before serving -- overnight is best, but relaxing for an hour or two in their liquid is sufficient.
3. To assemble the toasts, reheat a portion of the cooked beans in a small saucepan. In a medium sauté pan heat a ¼ inch of olive oil until smoking hot. Place bread slices into the oil and fry until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Drain toasts on a paper towel lined plate. Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan, toast popped garlic clove in a glug of olive oil. Toss in the greens and sauté for 10 seconds or so until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Place a piece of toast on a plate, spoon warm beans over the toast and top with greens and shaved Parmesan.
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