Cook the Book: Cannellini, Caper, Lemon, and Anchovy Crostini

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

One of my favorite meals at Frankies Spuntino is a simple plate of its incredible crostini. They are perfectly sized, small enough to eat in a bite or two, toasted with just the right amount of crunch, and most important, topped with some of the most delicious combinations around.

These Cannellini, Caper, Lemon, and Anchovy Crostini from The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual by Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo take otherwise none-too-thrilling white beans and turn them into something else. By mixing them with a bright Parsley Pesto and a sharp and tangy mix of anchovies, capers, and garlic, the beans take on a mixture of flavors that makes them into an palate-awakening first course.

The recipe gives you two options for mixing up the crostini topping— the way that the Franks make the crostini in the restaurant, and a more barebones method for easy home approximation. I made mine using the restaurant version and was left with not only a ton of beans for eating on toasted bread but also enough pesto to dress a pound or two of pasta and plenty of dressing for salad making which doesn't hurt to have on hand.

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Cook the Book: Cannellini, Caper, Lemon, and Anchovy Crostini

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About This Recipe

Yield:enough for about 8 crostini

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans, or canned
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Parsley Pesto (recipe follows)
  • 1 teaspoon Puntarelle Dressing (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (from 1 bunch parsley)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Large pinch of fine sea salt
  • 6 to 8 turns white pepper
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • 2 teaspoons capers, soaked
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more

Procedures

  1. 1

    Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir to mix. Use all at once (Frankies puts a heaping tablespoon on each crostini toast) or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a few days.

  2. 2

  3. 3

    Parsley Pesto

  4. 4

    - makes a little more than 1 cup-

  5. 5

    Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and purée for a couple of minutes, until the mixture is an even green and smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Store the pesto in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Shake before using.

  6. 6

    Puntarelle Dressing

  7. 7

    - makes a little more than 1 cup -

  8. 8

    Chop the anchovies, capers, and garlic into a near paste. (Roughly chop each on, them combine and work over the pile with your knife.) Transfer the paste to a bowl, add the olive oil, lemon juice, and white pepper to taste, and whisk together. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed, then stir in the parsley and cheese.

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