Recently, I ran across a four-part series on Netflix called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. This beautifully filmed documentary took me to some new places, introduced me to some interesting people, and taught me a few things along the way. Not only that, it also inspired me to think about food differently while challenging me to grow in my knowledge of cooking.
My response was trying something old but in a new way. I took an idea from one of the episodes and put my own twist on it. I made a pot of seasoned white beans. Then, I roasted various vegetables, and served them together with chunks of goat cheese that melted a bit, adding a tart creaminess to the whole dish. With crusty focaccia for dipping (another inspiration from the series), it was an amazing supper.
You may not even need a recipe for this dish. It is so simple and calls the cook to be creative with their preferred flavor profiles. Here’s what I did, but I would love to hear about your ideas.
Seasoned Cannellini Beans
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
• 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
• 4 15.5-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 15.5-ounce fire roasted diced tomatoes
• 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
• 1 tablespoon dry dill seasoning mix which included dill, dried onion, dried garlic
• Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Sauté onions, peppers, and garlic in Dutch oven until soft.
2. Add dry seasoning mix and cook together for a minute or two making your kitchen smell so good and enhancing the herbs with the heat.
3. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, salt, and pepper.
4. Simmer until flavors combine: 30 or more minutes.
Note: This recipe can be dumped into a crock pot and allowed to simmer all afternoon.
Choose vegetables you enjoy. My choices were inspired by Samin Nosrat from the show. She cooked carrots, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. Avoid the temptation of chopping everything and throwing it together on the sheet pan. Try to cut the vegetables in a somewhat uniform thickness. I peeled and sliced the carrots on the diagonal about a ¼ inch thick. The Brussel sprouts, I halved and the cauliflower I also cut into ¼ inch slices. I gave each vegetable their own pan, a good dose of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Make sure that they are not too crowded and have room to roast and not steam. I chose 350 degrees for my cooking temp, but it is perfectly fine to go up to 400-425. Keep a close eye on them so that they don’t get over browned.
When ready to serve, layer beans and veggies on to plate and top with a little goat cheese.
Note: This same dish can be repeated in a variety of ways depending on the choice of beans, herbs and seasonings, vegetables, and cheese. The sky is the limit. Let me know about your favorite combination.
And if you haven’t been traveling in a while, check out Samin Nosrat on Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as food for the mind.
Good-quality travel and good-quality food are the two luxuries that I never have any guilt indulging in. ~Charlie Hunnam