Braised Romaine & White Bean Puree

imagine mario batali describing this dish in italian, magnifico!

I highly recommend visiting friends with large gardens before a frost. You leave with baskets full of the fresh. Maybe I missed out on the asparagus by a few months but raspberries, scallions, tomatoes, rosemary and big full romaine heads are just fine. With this pile of romaine in front of me I dug deep for a dish I made years ago at Hopkins Inn in New Preston, CT. We served braised romaine there and topped it with a bacon and onion concoction and rich demi glace. Let's lighten this up a bit and be a touch more seasonal. Remember bacon has no season and is always in style. Braised romaine is similiar to spinach and chard but the texture is much more agreeable than those sturdy greens. It can be cut with a fork. Here's what I made.

Braised romaine with a white bean & rosemary puree, roast garlic cloves, roast onions and roast cherry tomatoes. With the exception of the beans everything else came from my friends or my CSA. This also is vegan friendly, bonus! or not if you're in the cow business.

Here's how I did it

Braised Romaine serves 4

  • 2 large heads of romaine
  • salt & pepper

Wash your head (romaine) thoroughly by dunking it repeatedly in a deep pot of water.

In a large pot of salted water add the romaine with the stem end in first. Simmer covered until very tender. A knife tip should feel no resistance. This takes about 45 minutes. Aga Owners can simply cover when it comes back to simmer and into the Baking Oven for 1 hour.

Remove from water and spread on a sheet pan until it's cool enough to touch. When cooled put the stem end on your right and push the core out with the back of a knife. Shape into a rectangle, season with S&P and fold the core end 1/3 of the way over. Flip the other end on top.

Slice into even pieces about 1 1/2 " wide. This is just the beginner recipe here. This lends itself to filling with cheese, smoked hams, prosciutto, spicy fillings on and on. It's very moist and holds up well. You can make this up to 5 days ahead of time.

Bonus Money Maker!Bet a friend you can eat a head of lettuce in one mouthful. I get 10 percent of any action.

White Bean Puree

  • 1 can or 3/4 cup dry white navy beans. If using dry add a clove of garlic, bay leaf and rosemary branch and simmer until done
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, extra virgin is fine
  • 1/4 cup of very hot water
  • 1 Tablespoon white balsamic or rice wine vinegar
  • smashed garlic clove
  • pinch of fresh rosemary
  • salt & pepper to taste

Add drained beans and oil to food processor and puree, add water to smooth out puree, add seasonings and taste. Easy.

Free advice! White bean puree is a great substitute for mashed potatoes. Unless you are in the potato growing business.

I hope you try this, it's better than it sounds. Unique, healthy, seasonal and endless options for you to put your own twist on it. Braised romaine stuffed with............ could win you the next recipe contest put on by the Romaine Growers of America

Cook like you mean it, G