Monday, March 17, 2008

Nettle and White Bean Bruschetta

It's nettle season! They're not just pesky, prickly weeds, but also a valuable food and herb. Eat them early and often, while they're here.Foraged and Found Edibles is selling them at local farmers' markets, and you can pick you're own, if you're careful. Handle them with gloves until you put them in the pan to cook.
This recipe makes enough to cover about 8 slices of bread.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium-sized shallots, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 large handfuls nettle leaves (see note above)
1 cup cooked white beans
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

8 small slices bread (day old is fine)

1. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan, then add the garlic, shallots, salt and rosemary. Cook for a minute or two, until the shallot is transluscent, then add the nettles and cook for about five minutes, until they've cooked down. Add the white beans and heat them through, then add the balsamic vinegar.

2. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet, and toast them at 375 degrees for a minute or two, until they're crispy on the outside but soft underneath. (You can brush the outsides with a little olive oil, but it's not necessary.)

3. Spread about a tablespoon of the bean and nettle mixture on top of each slice, and serve.

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