appetizers, snacks

crispy kale + bacon toasts with lemony white bean puree.

crispy kale + bacon toasts with lemony white bean puree.

Because toast posts > pumpkin spice lattes any day of the week.

Even in the fall, because I know the PSL’s are in full swing – I myself have refrained thus far, and will continue to do so until October; September is reserved for chai and chai only.

So, this toast: as usual, there are a few components to this (the hallmark of my recipes by now: components!), all of them incredibly simple and involving small amounts of time. What you see before you is:

  • Baguette, sliced and oven-toasted
  • White beans puréed with a few tasty things
  • Crispy oven-roasted kale
  • Bacon.

Nothing to it, right? Seriously, bake those toasts, fry that bacon, whirl that bean puree, crisp those kale leaves. Done. Cozy toast for a Tuesday afternoon, or a pretty great alternative to that chicken wing dip appetizer you internally gag at the thought of even though football season has barely begun.

crispy kale + bacon toasts with lemony white bean puree.

Except: easy recipes usually involve doing things correctly, and this one is no different. As always, watch your toast carefully, because a minute here or there can mean the difference between perfect and ruined toast. I’ll note also that this is the first time I’ve successfully made kale in the oven that isn’t soggy: it’s crispy like the chips (and could indeed be used just as chips, if you’d like). The secret is twofold: first, you must dry the kale. not sort of dry it, not mostly dry it, it needs to be dry like the desert. I double-dry: first before I chop, then again post-chop, and it seems to do the trick. secondly, you must thoroughly coat the kale in a very small amount of olive oil, which takes patience and time on your part. Time, because it’s always going to take a while getting a small amount of something onto a big amount of something. Patience, because tossing curly kale with a spoon is remarkably like tossing baby lop-eared bunnies with a spoon: much fluffy. Use the folding motion you would use if you were making an angel food cake and folding in the egg whites and you should be good.

And it is, too…there’s a brightness in the bean puree from a little lemon and some parsley, and it gives the relative darkness of the kale and the bacon a nice lift: the combo is superb together. Also, it doesn’t fall all over the place with the first bite: the bean puree, aside from being delightful, does a wonderful job of holding the baguette and the kale/bacon combo together. Everything stays intact, and you won’t make a mess.

crispy kale + bacon toasts with lemony white bean puree.

Serve these at room temperature: no rush to get them out or burn your fingers doing so, because they’ll be great whenever you get them finished and plated. You can even make the components ahead of time: just remember (especially with the bean puree, which you will need to refrigerate if kept overnight) to bring everything back up to room temperature prior to assembly.

That’s it! Toast posts are always short, because there’s just nothing to them, and that’s what makes them so lovely. Now go and enjoy your exceedingly perfect fall day.

All parts of this recipe are the result of me freestyling. Inspired by my 50˚F cloudy morning.

Crispy Kale + Bacon Toasts with Lemony White Bean Purée

Makes 24 pieces

for the toast:

  • 1 French baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/2 in slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing
  • sea salt

for the white bean purée:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves, firmly packed
  • juice of 2 medium lemons
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

for the crispy kale:

  • 1 bunch curly kale, thick stems removed, torn or chopped into pieces (keeping in mind that kale drastically reduces in size when cooked, so not too small) and thoroughly dried
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

and then there’s:

  • 8 oz good-quality, thick-cut peppered bacon (or not peppered, but that’s up to you), chopped into 1-inch pieces

So here’s my suggestion on how to prepare these: Obviously do them in the order I list them, but make the bacon and then the bean puree parallel to making the toast and kale. If you turn the stove on for the bacon at the same time as you turn on the oven for the toast and proceed from there, everything should come together perfectly at the end. 

Toast the toast:

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Brush a little olive oil on both sides of each slice and set on a lipped baking sheet: your slices can be close together, but keep them in a single layer. Bake until toasted on both sides, about 15 minutes (this depends on your bread, so keep watch), flipping at the 10-minute mark. Remove from the oven and transfer the toast to a wire rack to cool.

Crisp that kale:

Increase the oven temperature to 375˚F. In a large bowl, thoroughly toss the kale pieces like it’s your job until coated. Season with salt and pepper and spread onto a lipped half sheet pan – oh! maybe the one you just used to make the toast on would be good. See how I saved you a pan there? And lt.’s already oiled for you. Spread that kale out in a single layer and roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing 2 times during cooking to get them evenly crisped. Once the look all dark and crispy, remove and set aside to cool.

Fry that bacon:

What instructions can I give you? Add a little oil if you wish to a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-covered plate to drain.

Make that purée:

In (the same!) large skillet (wiped clean of bacon fat*), add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the shallots, stirring until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, stirring for another 30 seconds until fragrant; remove from heat.

Add the rinsed and drained cannellini beans to the bowl of a food processor. Add the shallots, garlic, and their oil to the bowl. Add the parsley leaves and lemon juice and pulse until blended. With the motor on, stream in the remaining olive oil until smooth. You’re looking for it to be spread-like, but not pasty at all: smooth like a good hummus would be. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble those toasts:

Spread approximately 1 teaspoon of white bean purée on each toast. Top with crispy kale and bacon, and season as needed (if you’ve seasoned everything up to this point, you may not need to do any further seasoning) with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

If you’re making the components ahead (and I wouldn’t suggest doing this any more than one day ahead, although the white bean purée stores well for several days), store separately in airtight containers at room temperature (kale, toast) or refrigerated (bacon, bean purée).

*You may be wondering why I have you draining perfectly lovely bacon fat out of a pan, only to add more in to make the purée. My answer? Because this is a light, bright set of flavors which doesn’t need the heft of bacon fat involved, at least in my opinion. If you can’t bear the thought of doing this, keep the bacon fat and use that as your oil, but it’s going to change that lemony sunshine of a purée a bit. 

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18 Comments

  • Reply Willow @ Will Cook For Friends September 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Stuff on toast is always the best, isn’t it? That white bean puree is freakin’ genius, too. This is the type of appetizer I would make for a gathering, and then just duck into a corner somewhere and eat most of all by myself. I’m not proud of it, I’m just tellin’ it like it is.

    Also, I’m with you — I’m reserving September is for figs, chai tea, and perhaps the first soups and stews of the season. I’m not ready for pumpkin everything yet, not even lattes.

    • Reply shannon September 27, 2014 at 5:17 am

      YES: stuff on toast IS the best, and i think it’s because of my lifelong love of toast, period. I will do anything for it, and if making recipes on toast means all the sudden it’s acceptable to eat toast all day long? Okay, i’m in. 🙂 Exactly: don’t you have some party recipes you make secretly hoping no one will like it or gravitate towards it? Because i do..i love it when something delicious goes untouched because more. for. me. 🙂

      Figs! after a brief disappearance from our stores, i saw fresh figs yesterday and thought of you. they looked so perfect and how sexy are they in their little pods, right? delicious. perfect with everything. and chai…i’m a chai hoarder. and i’m all for soup right now: i was thinking about making one this weekend if i have the time.

  • Reply Brianne September 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Kevin is already all over pumpkin coffee. Not the kind with cream and sugar; there’s this pumpkin spice coffee out here that tastes just as good when it’s black. Green Mountain? Do you have that in the Midwest? I don’t think I’ve seen it back home. Anyway, it’s crazy good. I, so far, have held off. The bees are going away quickly these days, though, so I guess I have to accept that it’s fall and pumpkin coffee is okay for consumption. I do admire your wait til October rule, though. Kale is much fluffy. I love that! I also love this recipe. Things on toast are the best. And I’ve long wanted to do something with a white bean puree.

    • Reply shannon September 27, 2014 at 5:14 am

      You know, i read this comment (and failed to respond but that’s what early mornings are for, right?) and ever since then, i’ve been looking for the Green Mountain pumpkin coffee, b/c you said it tastes just as good black (and that’s how i normally do coffee). We do have the brand all over, but no dice on finding the pumpkin variety: i’ll keep looking b/c i wouldn’t mind the spices without all the condensed milk and cream and whatnot.
      things on toast may be my favorite party thing, and this white bean puree is legit enough to be eaten with a spoon out of the jar (i should know). 🙂 it was a nice flavor combo, and definitely one i’d make again, even if just for my own snacks and lunches.

  • Reply Ashley September 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    TOAST! I love it. Of course I love it. It’s toast + you + bacon + yum. Thank you. It’s seriously the perfect combination of flavors and textures.

    Also. much fluffy might be the name of our next cat. Or perhaps the phrase I shout at random occasions. Awesome.

    • Reply shannon September 27, 2014 at 5:11 am

      These were totally that! Crunch, smooth puree, the toast crunch: i enjoyed them quite a bit, and actually had them for lunch several days in a row – a nice step up from my normal fare (because toast always makes me feel like i’m at a party.)

      MUCH FLUFFY!

  • Reply Deb September 18, 2014 at 11:11 am

    A most comforting recipe to welcome autumn! I’m daydreaming of serving the “Toasts” with a bowl of creamy homemade tomato soup. Hello fall!

    • Reply shannon September 27, 2014 at 5:10 am

      that would be the perfect pairing! and now i want creamy homemade tomato soup SO badly. 🙂

  • Reply elizabeth September 18, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I’d rather talk toast than pumpkin spice lattes any day, and these look like perfect transitional snacks. It’s been a while since I’ve made a simple bean dip/puree for toasts and they are so tasty–thank you for the reminder to make one the next time I’m entertaining.

    • Reply shannon September 27, 2014 at 5:09 am

      You know, i still haven’t had the urge to buy a PSL: i may not this year, because i feel like i’ve maxed out on that particular thing. There’s a part of me which wants to see stats from Starbucks, because i suspect if there’s not a wane in popularity for the PSL already, there will be soon. In truth, it’s far from their best offering, so.
      I loved these: honestly, with or without the kale, or even the bacon: to me, that bean puree with the lemony parsley was super flavorful and just perfect all on its own on the toast. Have to appreciate fresh parsley for bringing the summer all year long…so sunny.

  • Reply Monica September 19, 2014 at 6:54 am

    For years, I would always make bruschetta when I had a party (topped with tomato basil or a mushroom mixture) because the love of toast is universal. Needless to say, your version here looks mighty delicious. I love all the layers and the textures, plus the extra salty bite from delicious bacon.

    • Reply shannon September 27, 2014 at 5:04 am

      and now all i want is either tomato basil or mushroom toast. Because those two are like the king and queen of toast, don’t you agree? yum.

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog September 25, 2014 at 8:41 am

    I have ruined my fair share of toast. I blame it on the Internet. These little bites look amazing. You’re right, you can’t go wrong with toast.

    • Reply shannon September 27, 2014 at 4:59 am

      When in doubt, ALWAYS blame the internet! it’s why i still do the majority of my recipes from books…i have a real paranoia about “pinterest fails” 🙂 thanks, Jennie, my fellow toast lover.

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats September 25, 2014 at 10:32 am

    “TOAST POST” !!! Toast posts are the best posts because they rhyme and I love things that rhyme. For reals. These look super interesting ~ I may have to make them for my next get-together as toasts are always provided for our guests and this would be a good change-up from the usuals 🙂

    • Reply shannon September 27, 2014 at 4:59 am

      I’m working on upping my toast game as well: it’s like, everyone is toasting now, and it’s hard to compete. 🙂

  • Reply Abbe@This is How I Cook September 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Pumpkin lattes? Not for me! Just maybe these little toasts will sway my manservant to eat kale. After all they do have the most manly of foods atop them. I, of course, do not need to be swayed. We know who the smart one is in the pair!

    • Reply shannon September 27, 2014 at 4:55 am

      oooo, yes! It just looks crispy and he can pretend it’s not even on there. Manservant will totally believe you.

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