Roasted pepper and cannellini bruschetta
This uses fridge and store cupboard staples that keep well, and it never fails to delight guests. Ottolenghi’s original recipe calls for dried cannellini beans, which require overnight soaking and long cooking, but I’ve found that canned beans work just as well. Apart from the toasting of the bread, all of this can be prepared well in advance.
1 tin or carton cooked cannellini beans, drained
2 red and 2 yellow peppers
120 ml olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp muscovado or soft brown sugar
4 sprigs thyme
5 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
6 large slices sourdough bread
2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 180 (fan).
Cut the peppers into quarters and shave off the white parts and the seeds. Put them in a roasting tray and toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil and a little salt. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until soft, then transfer to a bowl and cover it with cling film: this will make them easier to peel.
In a separate bowl, whisk 60ml of the olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, water, sugar, thyme, 2 sliced garlic cloves and a pinch of salt. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel them, add to the marinade with their cooking juices and leave, well immersed, for at least half an hour. I usually leave them overnight in the fridge, where they will keep for up to a week.
Put the beans in a food processor along with a crushed garlic clove, the lemon juice, the remaining olive oil, a teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Process to a smooth taste. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. This will also keep for ages in the fridge.
Put the bread slices on a baking tray, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. While they are still hot, rub the slices with 2 peeled garlic cloves, then leave to cool on a wire rack.
To assemble the bruschettas, halve each slice of toast, then spread with a good amount of the bean purée. Top generously with the marinated peppers and garnish with the spring onions and a drizzle of olive oil.