Pan-fried Tuscan beans

So I was going to get all ranty on here about an ad I saw the other day, and medicine and concern-trolling and the “headless fatty” phenomenon.  Maybe someday soon, I will.

But you know what?  It’s been a gorgeous sun-drenched week in San Francisco, and I made some damn delicious beans the other night.  I’m not going to let The Advertising Man get me down.

Usually, I have a cute little story for the things I make.  But there’s not much in this case: a can of white beans, some tomatoes, a few fresh sage leaves, a thin-sliced shallot and a splash of vinegar.  The real surprise here is the texture, which comes from a quick, middling-heat pan-fry in olive oil.  The beans wrinkle and brown, like SPF-averse LA surfers; the skins become glibly crisp and nutty, almost reminiscent of almonds.  Add meaty tomatoes, sweet-sharp caramelized shallots, a little tangy vinegar-bite, and the warmth of red and black pepper, and you’ve got one tee-riffic side dish.

‘Nuff said.

Pan-Fried Tuscan Beans (serves 3-4 as a side dish)

Inspired by Food Wishes and Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites

1 15-oz. can white, butter or cannellini beans, drained and thoroughly dried

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

4-5 large fresh sage leaves

Pinch of crushed red chili

Fresh-ground black pepper to taste

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

1 tsp red wine vinegar

Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium-low heat.  Add the shallot and sage leaves and saute for a minute or two, then add the beans.  Pan-fry, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the beans begin to crinkle and tan.

Add red chili flake and black pepper, and toss to combine.  Cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring a couple times.  Meanwhile, crush the drained tomatoes lightly with your hands to break them up a bit.  (You don’t have to do this, but I’m a freak of nature who can’t deal with intact chunks of tomato in my food.)

When the beans are nice and toasty and the shallots have caramelized a little bit, add the tomatoes and red wine vinegar.  Stir to combine, and cook for a minute just to heat the tomatoes through.  Fish out the sage leaves, then add salt to your liking and serve hot.

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