Ireland Creek Annie beans are a lovely light golden and beige English heirloom variety that have a mellow, earthy flavor. They make a delicious silky bean spread when blended with lots of roasted garlic and olive oil. If you can't find this variety, white kidney beans would be a reasonable substitute. For contrasting color, flavor, and texture, I've paired the bean spread with a bright, spicy, crunchy almond and roasted red pepper romesco sauce. The bruschetta come together easily and are tastiest right out of the oven, so make just as many as you will eat at a time. To make these as bite-sized appetizers, use a narrow ficelle sliced into thin rounds. —Fairmount_market
about 24 bruschetta
For the bean spread
dried Ireland Creek Annie beans, or substitute white kidney beans
salt to taste
For the romesco sauce
red bell pepper
smoked paprika or more for a spicier sauce
Rinse the beans and cook them over low heat with the rosemary springs, covered in an inch of water, until they are tender. The cooking time will depend on how dry the beans are. You can also cook them in a slow cooker (check after about 3 hours on low), which allows them to plump and soften slowly. Make sure that the beans stay immersed in liquid, but don't add too much water (start with about 2 cups), because you want to end up with the beans in their own thick sauce. When the beans are tender, remove the rosemary springs and salt them generously.
To make the bean spread, roast the garlic cloves in a dry skillet until the skins are blackened in spots and the garlic is soft and fragrant. Peel the garlic cloves and combine them in a food processor with the beans in their sauce and the olive oil. Blend into a smooth paste. Add more salt or olive oil to taste.
To make the romesco sauce, char the red pepper over an open flame or in a high heat oven until the skin is blackened. Place in a bowl covered with a plate to steam off the skin. Toast the almond slivers in a dry skillet and place in a food processor. Scrape off the charred skin from the pepper, remove stem and seeds and add to food processor. Add vinegar and smoked paprika and pulse into a course paste.
To make the bruschetta, preheat the broiler. Cut slices of baguette on the diagonal (or to make bite-sized bruschetta, slice thin rounds from a ficelle). Spread a thick layer of the bean spread on each baguette slice, followed by a stripe of romesco sauce. Heat an oven-safe skillet, such as a cast iron pan, and coat lightly with olive oil. Add the bruschetta to the pan and let sizzle for a minute, then put the pan under the broiler for about 4 minutes, until the edges of the baguette slices are toasted.
Enjoy as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to soup or salad.
I'm a biology professor and mother of two, and in my (limited) free time I love to cook, which is much more forgiving than laboratory science. Last year I helped start a farmers market in my neighborhood, and to promote it, I created a food blog: fairmountmarket.blogspot.com. I enjoy the challenge of coming up with recipes for local, seasonal ingredients and finding fun ways to cook with my children.