On a trip to Sorana, just outside of Lucca, I met with some bean growers and learned more about the sorana bean that Marcella Hazan loved. I had one of those perfect Italian lunches that started with the beans served on very well-saturated-with-olive-oil toast and topped with a thin slice of lardo, a preserved seasoned fat-back which is much more delicious than it sounds. Lardo can be difficult to find outside of Italy, but prosciutto is a great substitute. The toasts can also be served without meat, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. —Steve
- 8 large ½-inch slices country style bread
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
- 2 to 3 cups cooked, drained Rancho Gordo white heirloom beans, such as Marcella beans
- Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces lardo or thinly sliced prosciutto
SERVES 8 AS AN APPETIZER
- Toast or grill the bread. Rub one side of each slice with garlic, then brush with olive oil.
- Spoon about ½ cup beans onto each toast, and coarsely crush with a fork. Divide the remaining whole beans among the toasts (about ¼ cup per toast). Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, as desired. Top with slices of lardo or prosciutto.