A few months ago I bought Diana Henry’s A Change of Appetite on a whim; I saw a tweet from Leite’s Culinaria about this white bean purée piled high with beautiful purple radicchio and red onions and it looked good enough that I went straight onto Amazon and bought the cookbook. I have not been disappointed.
What with supper club trials and Thanksgiving, I haven’t had much time for trying out new recipes over the past few months. But it goes without saying that the first recipe I had to try from this cookbook was the white bean purée with radicchio and red onions.
Not being able to find radicchio very readily here in Folkestone, I used one of its relatives, endive (or chicory), instead. The bitter leaves are sturdy and so flavorful, cooking endows them with a sweetness and velvety softness which is irresistible to me.
Every bit of this recipe is simple and uncomplicated, from the flavors to the methods, but the result is so much more than the sum of its parts. I put the raw endive pieces in the pan on their own in some hot oil and left them alone for a few minutes to get a nice brown crust on them. Then I pushed all the endive to one side and added the red onion wedges which I had marinated in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
The end result was caramelized endive, sweet and wilting with that finishing hint of bitterness, and dark, sticky balsamic onions on top of the beautiful, silky cannelini bean puree and flecked with some parsley leaves for for a fresh, lemony zing. It’s a great autumn or winter weeknight meal: quick, hearty, healthy and delicious.
The whole cookbook is full of recipes that are delicious, but also happen to be really healthy. It’s not a health food cookbook, it’s a cookbook written by someone who loves food and wants to be able to explore that passion and still feel good about what she’s eating. The whole idea behind the cookbook really speaks to me and what I’ve been trying to achieve with our daily meals over the past few years and I’m sure it’s going to lead to many more adventures in the kitchen. I hope they are all as delicious as this one.
Bon appetit (without the meat)!