Saturday, 14 April 2012

Warm butter bean and spinach salad with crispy garlic

Oh dear, apologies for being such a slack blogger recently - I blame a combination of a demanding work schedule and my recent discovery of a rather excellent new spirits shop on Wardour Street (Amathus in case you're interested). They have an incredible selection of world rums that I've been exploring with more vigour than is probably wise, leaving me happy and very relaxed, but with no time for cooking. Oops.

Much of my recent meal prep has been quick, where dishes like this come into their own. I love tinned beans and pulses - they're super healthy and don't require days of planning and advance soaking like dried pulses. This recipe is uber easy and makes a nice quick lunch or light supper. It also hovers in the non-committal world of warm salads which have been so loving during these strange sunny/thundery days of April. I have to admit, I can't wait for summer to start.


about 200ml vegetable oil
a whole bulb of garlic
4 tbsp extra virgin olive
½ onion, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced (if there are any celery leaves, chop and add them to the mix with the parsley)
450g fresh spinach
400g can of butter beans
½ lemon
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Greek yoghurt and crusty bread, to serve

1) Separate and peel all the cloves of garlic, keeping 2 cloves aside. Finely slice the rest into even 1mm thicknesses. Pour enough vegetable oil into a small saucepan to come 1cm up the side, and fry the garlic over a low/medium heat until golden. Be careful not to let it brown as this will make the garlic bitter. Sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain on kitchen towel.

2) Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion for a few minutes, until soft and translucent, then add the garlic. Fry for a minute more, then add the celery. Cook until soft, then add the butter beans to the pan and allow them to warm in the juices before adding the spinach. Pop a lid on the pan and allow to cook until the spinach has wilted.

3) Sprinkle over the parsley (and celery leaves, if using) and squeeze over the juice of the lemon, then season with a little salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle over the crisp garlic and serve immediately.


  1. I just know I'd burn that garlic...but worth a shot!

    1. It's definitely a fine line between crispy golden and bitter burnt - you have to be hawk-like in your vigilance at the stove! It is worth the effort though, it has that lovely sweet mellow flavour that you get from roasting garlic. Hope it works for you!


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