Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sandy Beans! Getting Our Grit On with Crispy Parmesan Breadcrumb Coated Beans

We all know our food has to look and taste good, but one of the more overlooked aspects in cooking is texture. This sandy beans recipe is a great example. Sure, a nice bowl of white beans warmed in garlic oil and topped with parsley is a fine thing, but texturally…kind of a snoozer.

Here we're coating the beans with a crispy, cheesy, pleasantly gritty breadcrumb mixture. That's right; less yawn, more fawn. This was inspired by a similar trick I like to use for finishing pastas, and if there's one thing I know about people (maybe the only thing), it's they like crispy and crunchy toppings.

At the beginning of the recipe you'll hear me mention a garlic-infused oil. I will demo this in a future video, but in case you're wondering, here's what I did. Take a 1/4 cup of olive oil and place it on low heat. Add a sliced garlic clove. As soon as the garlic starts to bubble slightly, turn off the heat and let the oil cool to room temp. Do not brown the garlic. Strain this oil and voilĂ , you have garlic oil.

One quest that never ends for a cook is the search for ways to make common side dishes seem a little more special, and this is one trick I hope you try soon. Enjoy! 

Food Safety Note: One of our concerned viewers reminded me to point out that there is a botulism concern when dealing with garlic stored in oil. So you don't worry needlessly, out of 300,000 Americans, there are only about 25 cases of botulism per year with very few cases resulting from stored garlic. But better safe than sorry, so it's recommended that you store any leftover garlic oil in the fridge and use within 10 days.

For the crumbs:
1/4 cup garlic olive oil
3/4 to 1 cup breadcrumbs (depends how "dry" you want your "sand")
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
For the beans:
1 can white beans, drained, rinsed
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
salt to taste
cayenne to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley


Kaszka said...

My mom puts such "sand" on a boiled cauliflower. I have to try it with beans!

Anonymous said...

Where has this technique "bean" all my life. OMG! Ha, ha, ha!!

Bob Brooks said...

I love your recipes but I'm concerned about your garlic oil. As you know, this has a potential for botulism. So I think it would be good to warn readers that there should be some acid added to the oil and it should be kept refrigerated.

Ian said...

No rim shot after "where has this technique 'bean' all my life"?!
for shame, sir, for shame...

Recipe looks fantastic, gonna crank it out this weekend to accompany some grilled chicken breasts and some of your mas famoso grilled peaches.


Chef John said...

Yes, good point. Even though the chances are quite slim there would be a problem, I changed the post amounts so they are only making enough for the recipe. Plus added a warning. Thanks!

The Daily Sarah said...

Was that the side dish to your breast of lamb video? I remember thinking "I want to eat that. What is that?" Now I know :)

TXcoyote said...

Looks delicious. Have you tried making it with Panko? Would that change the sandy texture too much, or do you think it would work?

LipeCau said...

So you basically made your version of a brazilian Farofa.
Here's a basic version of it
You can actually put anything on it, scrambled egg farofa is one of brazilian's favorites.
In my case, I like mine with lots of garlic and onion, nothing else.
Great videos, chef, keep up!

LipeCau said...

So you basically made your version of a brazilian Farofa.
Here's a basic version of it
You can actually put anything on it, scrambled egg farofa is one of brazilian's favorites.
In my case, I like mine with lots of garlic and onion, nothing else.
Great videos, chef, keep up!

Anonymous said...

Genius!! Do they give a culinary Nobel?

LDM said...

We do something very similar (without the cheese) with pan-fried broccoli. You start the broccoli, then add extra oil & then the breadcrumbs and cook them together.

Will have to try this as a side soon: been trying to add more beans to my diet.

Food Junkie said...

Sounds tasty. I have a question on the garlic oil where you say not to brown the garlic. In your Spaghetti Aglio e Olio you do brown the garlic to get better garlic flavour infused into the oil. Why don't you brown the garlic in this recipe?

Monica said...

Were they fresh breadcrumbs? or out of a package. Mine never look like that.

Grams Pam said...

What a versatile side-dish ... good for any season.

Currently have lots of lemon thyme in my herb garden, so I'll use it in place of the parsley (maybe in addition to ... I have lots of parsley right now, too)

Chef John said...

I used progresso plain breadcrumbs.

FJ, Cooking the garlic golden is okay, but dark brown is not recommended since too dark may be bitter.

Steve said...


My favorite way of making garlic infused oil is to simply make garlic confit. A cup or so of peeled garlic in about as much olive oil over low heat for 45 minutes to an hour and you're golden.

Not only do you have a wonderful flavored oil but you have garlic confit, which is good on just about everything.

Seal, refrigerate, and . . . enjoy.

JoAnn said...

I'm going to try this with tomatoes and zucchini. Do you think the crumbs with freeze successfully? We eat lots of beans in Puerto Rico. Should be delish with black beans too.

Valerie said...

Is this amount of "sand" to be served with one can of beans, or would there be extra left over - and if so, how to store. Thanks

Chef John said...

No, you'll have extra. Store in fridge and warm to serve.

Mr Downloads said...

I made this today, but with 2 cans of beans and was wonderfull, even I let the "sand" a little too wet. I will do this "sand" with other beans and bacon instead of garlic oil, or maybe both.

Mr.R said...

Made this today although i added some kidneybeans and corn, super nice taste and very healthy with the beans! I will try this sand for so many things and i have a feeling i will taste good everytime! :)

1Bigg_ER said...

How about warming those beans in.......leftover, refrigerated Buerre Blanc!!