A few months ago my boyfriend got me Diana Henry’s cookbook, a change of appetite. I’ve spent hours flipping through the book, studying the recipes, textures and ideas and admiring the food photography, elegant simplicity and beautiful ceramic dishes on each page. You have some choices in this recipe, whether or not to soak and cook your own beans or buy them canned; what to serve with the dish, crusty bread, or tortillas, or crudités. The end result is a colorful, delicious and soul-satisfying pretty meal, perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack. There are so many other wonderful dishes I’ve made from this cookbook and it has found a happy home on my kitchen shelf.
Her version is a great serving size for a crowd, but I made this for two, so my portions are a bit smaller. Also, I soaked and pureed a nice quantity of cannellini beans and ended up freezing about half for a later use.
Radicchio and Onion on White Bean Puree
(Adapted from Diana Henry’s a change in appetite)
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (15 oz.) cans or about 4 cups cooked cannellini beans
2/3 cup chicken stock
sea salt + pepper
Juice from 1 lemon
1 head radicchio
½ large white or red onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup basalmic vinegar
1. For the bean puree, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and cook the onion over medium heat until it is translucent, not browned, about 8 minutes or so. Add the garlic, cook another minute, and then add the beans, chicken stock, and a bit of sea salt + pepper.
2. Add the olive oil and half of the lemon juice to the beans, and process in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Adjust the amount of lemon to your preference, I like a lot of lemon juice, so I use a whole lemon.
3. At this point, I froze about half of my bean puree. If you’re feeding a crowd, double the amount of radicchio and onion.
4. I made the beans ahead of time, and reheated them in skillet in a 400°F oven. While the beans heat, or stay hot, start the rest. Halve the radicchio, and cut each half into quarters. Trim some of the white heart from each piece, trying not to let the sections fall apart. Slice the onion so that you make nice big rings.
5. Mix the olive oil and basalmic, and put the radicchio and onions in it, allowing it to marinate for about 10 minutes.
6. Heat a skillet over high and cook the onions until they are charred and browned on each side. Cover, turn down the heat, and cook until they are softened. After a few minutes, turn the heat back up and add the radicchio. Let it brown and char on each side.
7. Remove the beans from the oven, keep them in a skillet or place in a serving bowl. Put the onion and radicchio on top of the bean puree. Season with a good flaky sea salt—I used this nice hibiscus sea salt that is purply pink and beautiful—and drizzle with bit more olive oil. I served this dish with homemade corn tortillas and sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, but it would also be lovely with some crusty bread.