Cooking at home, 250pp.
by Karen Martini
Penguin Australia, Camberwell, Victoria, 2008
Cooking on page 32–33
I’ve always liked Karen Martini’s recipes. Although not found on any page 32, her Spanish-style spiced almonds are a family favourite, which I’ve tweaked a bit over the years. They’re better than anything you’d buy.
Her career in Australia’s food industry began at age 15 at Mietta’s in Melbourne. And she’s gone on to head top restaurant kitchens including the Melbourne Wine Room, Sydney’s Dining Room and her own artisan pizza restaurant Mr Wolf. She’s also been food editor of the Sunday Life magazine.
After she had her first child in 2006, she’s thought a lot about creating recipes that can be put together at home quickly and simply, and with great effect. This cookbook is the result.
Cannellini beans with rosemary, prawns and lemon
200 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, slice, plus 1 extra clove, peeled and left whole
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 400 g cans cannellini beans, drained
500–600 ml stock or water
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves chopped and ground in a mortar and pestle with a little sea salt
8 thin slices baguette or 4 large slices rustic bread, cut in half
5 large green (raw) prawns, peeled, deveined and chopped
1 handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, torn
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 3 minutes, then season with salt. Add the cannellini beans, stock or water and rosemary and cook for about 8 minutes or until the beans are very soft. Remove from the heat and drain (reserve the liquid).
Mash the beans with a fork or the back of a spoon (add some of the reserved liquid if the paste is too dry) and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
Toast the bread and rub generously with the whole garlic clove. Spread with the mashed cannellini beans.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the chopped prawns and cook until they just change colour. Season, then add the parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Spoon the prawns over the beans and season with a generous grinding of black pepper.
Serves 8 as a starter or antipasto.
How it played out
I made half a batch, using one can of beans, vegetable stock and a total of 3 tablespoons of oil (or about 45 ml instead of 100 for half a batch). I used 1 1/2 tablespoons to fry the garlic and then another 1 1/2 tablespoons to finish off the beans. I didn’t need to add any of the reserved liquid.
I bake bread a couple of times a week, so used a couple of slices of a nice rye instead of baguettes. One of these days I’ll get around to making my own baguettes. Anyone got a good recipe?
Super easy to make. The cannellini mixture was so completely delicious that I ate a few spoonfuls of it before spreading it on the toast. The chopped prawns on top were nice, but not essential. I reckon the beans on toast plus the chopped parsley would make a great starter (appetiser) or antipasto offering.
You’ll notice from the photo below that I added a bit of cocktail sauce to the finished toast—just to add a bit of zing to the prawns.
P.S. Poor John and I each had two largish pieces of toast and there was enough leftover for a good-sized third serving. A bit of yum for tomorrow!
Some of you may know the musical properties of beans—as in ‘beans. beans, musical fruit’. Here’s one of our South American experiences with beans.