Creamy White Beans With ‘Nduja, Kale, and Gremolata Breadcrumbs

For the Beans:
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
3 large shallots (4 1/2 ounces; 125g), thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves (10g), thinly sliced
Kosher salt
4 ounces (1/2 cup; 113g) ‘nduja (see note)
3 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium white beans (cannellini or Great Northern), drained and rinsed
1 quart (950ml) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1 bunch (8 ounces; 225g) lacinato kale, tough stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)
1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh lemon juice (from one lemon; zest finely grated and set aside before juicing fruit)
For the Gremolata Breadcrumbs: (optional)
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (1 1/4 ounces; 35g) panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Finely grated zest from one lemon

For the Beans: In large, straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots and garlic, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not brown, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add ‘nduja and, using a wooden spoon, break it into pieces and stir vigorously to combine with shallots and garlic. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until fat from ‘nduja separates, and shallots and garlic are stained red and fully coated with ‘nduja, 3 to 5 minutes longer.

Add beans. Use wooden spoon to crush roughly 1/4 of the beans against sides and bottom of the pan. Stir until beans are fully incorporated and coated in ‘nduja-shallot mixture.

Add chicken stock, season lightly with salt, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a creamy, stew-like consistency, with some beans just poking out on the surface, about 15 minutes.

Add kale, and stir to incorporate and very lightly wilt the greens, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and season to taste with salt.

For the Gremolata Breadcrumbs: While the beans simmer, combine oil and breadcrumbs in medium skillet, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add parsley and lemon zest, season lightly with salt, stir to combine, and continue to cook until parsley begins to sizzle and mixture is very fragrant of citrus, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer breadcrumb mixture to small bowl and set aside until you are ready to serve.

For Serving: Divide beans between individual serving bowls and sprinkle with gremolata breadcrumbs. Serve immediately, passing more breadcrumbs at the table.

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