Thursday, 1 October 2015

King & Country Food

Cicoria al Pomodoro, Crema di Fagioli & Gorgonzola e Crostini di Pane
Italian Chicory & Tomato with Gorgonzola Puréed Beans & Crispy Bread


Supper was a super-simple affair again this evening, a traditional Pugliese-styled dish with a twist... Of course! What would be the point of me sharing something with you that you can already find elsewhere on the interwebs, right? You KNOW I always like to do my own thing one way or another!

Traditionally, in Puglia, you would have a purée of fa a beans, served with some boiled chicory greens, and drizzled with olive oil, plain and simple. Maybe a little garlic, maybe a little chili in the oil... But always the classic.

I don't like to ruin a good thing and this combination is clearly a good thing... But mine was a convenient alternative that made use of the last remains of my Gorgonzola cheese from the other night... And my left-over bread... And that is something that I always love to do!


This is peasant food maybe, but it is very pleasant food at the same time! Simple, healthy, comforting and in this variation quick and easy to make. Want to know how? Read on!


Ingredients time! To make my puréed beans, I used a can of those large, white, Greek "gigante" beans, but basically any white beans would do. I had 1 small head of chicory, 1 onion, 6-7 cherry tomatoes, about 2 teaspoons-worth of Gorgonzola, and a left over of baguette for my little rounds of toast. Seasoning was simply a little salt and pepper and for finishing the purée and dressing the greens a little milk and olive oil respectively... Just keep on reading... You will see it is all very easy to prepare!


It's rough and ready and rustic but really nice and smooth at the same time... A little bit like me I suppose! Hahaha!


To prepare the chicory, begin by browning 2/3rds of the onion, cut into thin slices and then adding the halved cherry tomatoes once the onion is golden and translucent.


Wash the chicory well and cut it down in length a little, to make it easy to handle and add with plenty of water from rinsing to the saucepan. Add a pinch of salt, stir briefly together with the tomatoes and onion and then pop on the lid and allow to steam in its own juices for 10-15 minutes. Check occasionally to see if you need to add a splash of water and to give it a stir if necessary... But otherwise... Get busy with those beans in the meantime!


For the beans, also begin by browning the remaining 3rd of the onion, this time cut into a fine dice, and then adding the beans and plenty of black pepper. Leave a little of the juice from the can in there and cook the beans down with the onion for a good 5 minutes.


After that time, add a couple of pats of Gorgonzola and stir them in whilst the beans are piping hot... It will soon melt away. I found that 2 pats of around 1 teaspoon-size each was the perfect amount for 1 can of beans... And it added such a lovely flavor as well as making the addition of any salt whatsoever unnecessary. Super!


I decided to keep my purée rough and ready and rustic and simply stirred briskly with a wooden spoon. After 10 minutes of cooking time they mash up very easily. I added between 1-2 espresso cups of milk whilst I stirred, to help dissolve the cheese better and to make a milder and smoother blend.


After 15 minutes, the chicory had wilted down and cooked wonderfully, soaking up all of the juices in the saucepan and of course all of the sweetness and fruitiness of the onion and tomatoes.


I served them up together with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil, and a few thin slices of crusty toast for added crunch and contrast... Delicious!


Looks good enough to eat! Right?


Grab a spoon, grab some bread, settle down and enjoy! Peasant food that's fit for a king!

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