A rustic, tuscan style cannellini bean stew, topped with pan seared sea bass.
By Sylvia Fountaine
Simple ingredients come together lovingly, to make this rustic, savory and deeply satisfying meal that in my mind, brings me back to rolling hills of Tuscany, where cannellini beans are a staple. For a quick weeknight meal, canned cannellini beans may be substituted in this recipe- and from start to finish, this can be made in about 30 minutes. But if so inclined, on a more leisurely day, try using dried cannellini beans, and enjoy the amazing texture these will bring to the stew.
This is the dinner I made for Brian, on Sunday, after his week long backpacking/ kayaking adventure in the North Cascades, where he happily ate dehydrated meals out of packages, yet returned home, skin and bones. With each warming bite, he seemed more and more restored, this comforting bowl of goodness, was like a soulful embrace, welcoming him back home.
Cannellini beans are large white beans, with firm texture and skin, that hold their shape in soups and stews, and have a nutty buttery flavor. I love them because, even though they are low in fat, they add a very satisfying creaminess to dishes. Sea Bass, a rich buttery fish pairs exceptionally well with the stew, and although it can be quite pricey, it’s worth the splurge. Other options include Alaskan or True Cod, escolar, halibut, or black cod. The fish is simply seasoned – with a bit of salt and pepper, then seared in olive oil.
If using dried cannellini beans, remember to soak them in a bowl of ample water the night before, which will greatly improve their digestibly, and lessen their cooking time. They will double in size.
If using dried cannellini beans ( versus canned) , read the recipe instructions carefully, remembering not to add the tomatoes and salt until the final simmering stage. This prevent the skins from getting too tough.
Caterer and chef of Feast Catering Co., my blog Feasting at Home is where I share wholesome, seasonal recipes we cook at home.