Welcome back to work, everyone! The holidays are an increasingly distant memory, but at least Dry January is over for those who are into a spot of self-imposed deprivation. And, in further good news, the Life & Style recipe blog is back in action.
Today, we've got a leeky beans on toast recipe that will blow any preconceived limitations on the UK's favourite tea-time snack out of the water. It's creamy, zesty, salty, cost-effective, vegetarian and, with a few well-placed fennel fronds, very fancy.
What you'll need from the shops:
White canned beans (I used butter beans from Woolworths)
Fennel fronds (optional)
An anecdote about limes
Anyone who has been reading the recipes for a while knows of my enduring fondness for the Oranjezicht City Farmer's Market. It is a veritable cornucopia of seasonal fruit and vegetables, heralded (literally) by a stalwart champion of local produce. Her name is Cheryl. Every weekend, Cheryl takes to her loudhailer to wax lyrical about the recent labours of our local farmers and culinary artisans.
I am a consistent victim of Cheryl's robust oratory skills, as I can be counted on to purchase whatever seasonal goods she is punting. This is how I came to spend R230 on limes.
But not just any limes — finger limes.
These otherwordly citrus fruits are more oval than round, hence the name. They also don't produce the seed-like cells that can be found in the segments of regular limes. Instead, the cells are more spherical, appearing to all the world like citrus caviar.
Taste-wise, the zest is more akin to a Thai lime — more fragrant, almost spicy. The juice itself tastes just like lime, but more intense.
Anyway, this recipe works just as well with regular limes. But if you ever find yourself at the farmer's market, heed the siren's call of Cheryl's loudhailer.
How to make leeky beans on toast recipe
Step One: Prep your kak
Leeks are famously sandy, so let's take care of that first. Latitudinally cut the leek stems into two, then longitudinally split each smaller stem into halves. Pop these into a bowl of water to soak for a few minutes and give them a thorough rinse.
Now is also a good time to:
Slice your ciabatta
Put the kettle on the boil for your eggs
Prepare a bowl of iced water for your boiled eggs
Decant your beans and give them a quick rinse
Step Two: Slice everything up nice and fine
With a sharp knife, chiffonade your leek stems by cutting them up the stem into skinny slices. Thinly slice or mince your garlic.
Step Three: Put everything on the stove
Eggs: Remember the water you boiled? Pour that into a pot (enough to cover your eggs) and bring it back up to the boil. Pop your eggs in there. For perfectly jammy centres, boil from room temperature for six minutes before plopping them into an ice bath. For runny eggs, try four minutes. For firm centers, try eight minutes.
Leeks and beans: While that's happening, toss a knob of butter into a pan on medium heat. When that's melted, toss in your leeks, beans, and garlic. Season with a pinch of salt and some anchovy fillets, if you're partial.
Fry until the leeks and garlic have softened and the beans have developed a bit of browning on the skin.
Then, make some room for your ciabatta slice and pop it in the pan to toast it with the leftover butter. Add more butter or oil if the pan is dry.
Step Four: Plate it up
Time to assemble! First, put your toasted bread down and drizzle with some good-quality olive oil. Then, spoon over your leek and bean mixture. Finally, finish with a healthy squeeze of lime, a pinch of flakey salt, pepper, and some carefully selected fennel fronds.
This also pairs beautifully with chili oil, if that's your thing.
Lots of love,
The Life & Style Team