This crostini is inspired by two recipes of fine pedigree. The first is the kale salsa verde from Michael Anthony's Gramercy Tavern cookbook. Even though the book is filled with ideas and dishes I can't wait to try, it's this twist on salsa verde that got me the most excited. The second recipe is Suzanne Goin's smashed cannellini bean crostini with feta salsa verde, an appetizer I've had my eye on for a long time. My logic was if I combined these two recipes, adapting and tinkering with both along the way to make a harmonious whole, I'd end up with a pretty killer hor d'oeuvre. I'm happy to report that's exactly what happened. These would make a proper start to any party, casual or swanky.
A few notes: The smashed white beans and kale salsa verde can be made the day before and refrigerated (tightly covered). Return to room temperature before using. The crostini can be assembled and covered with plastic wrap about an hour before serving. If you want to make fewer crostini, I recommend making the full recipes of smashed white beans and kale salsa verde. The white beans double as a great side, and the kale salsa verde will enliven anything it touches. —EmilyC
about 36 crostini
FOR KALE SALSA VERDE
About 3 cups (packed) lacinato or curly kale leaves, center ribs discarded and leaves roughly torn (should weigh about 4 oz once prepped)
1/2 cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
1 T (packed) fresh sage or oregano leaves
1 T capers
1 small garlic clove
1 anchovy fillet
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
lemon juice, to taste
kosher salt + pepper, to taste
FOR SMASHED WHITE BEANS AND CROSTINI
2 16-oz cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
1 leafy rosemary sprig
1 dried chile de árbol, stemmed and coarsely crumbled
1 shallot, minced (yielding about ¼ cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T finely chopped mixed herbs (such as thyme, parsley, and/or tarragon)
about ¼ cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, or more to reach desired consistency
lemon juice, to taste
1 baguette, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, for brushing the baquette
To prep the kale: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the kale and cook until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and shock the kale in ice water. Drain again and squeeze the leaves between your hands to remove as much water as possible. Repeat until leaves are dry.
To make the kale salsa verde: Pound the herbs to a paste using a mortar and pestle or finely chop and smash with the back of your chef’s knife. Transfer the herbs to a small bowl. Repeat process with kale, and transfer to the same bowl with the herbs. Next, crush the capers, garlic, and anchovy (smashing them together until they’re cohesive but not a paste) then add them to the herbs. Stir in the olive oil and season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
To make smashed white beans: In a medium skillet, heat 3 T of olive oil. Add the rosemary and chile and cook over moderately high heat until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add the shallot, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot and garlic are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and mixed herbs, and cook for a few minutes, stirring to coat well. Discard the rosemary sprig. Add the chicken stock to the skillet and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Coarsely mash the beans with a fork or potato masher, adding more broth if needed. Transfer beans to a bowl and stir in a glug or two of olive oil.
To make the crostini: Heat the oven to 375°. Brush both sides of each baguette slice with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Toast for about 8 to 10 minutes, until golden and crisp but still soft in the middle; let cool.
To serve: Spread the smashed white bean spread on the toasts and arrange the crostini on platters. Spoon the Kale Salsa Verde on each crostini. Top each with shaved pecorino.