Skip to content

Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

White Bean Crostini

White beans are a big deal in Tuscany. The locals always have a favorite place— bakery, market, bar— that prepares the beans just the way they like them. In Tavarnelle, Wedensday is bean day, and the bakery on the square does them best.


1 loaf Ciabatta bread (recipe xxx), sliced ¼” thick, about 16 slices
2 each – 15 oz. cans Navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbl Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Red onion, small diced
½ cup Fennel, small diced
1 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp Fresh ground black pepper
5-6 each Fresh sage leaves, chiffonade


Preheat oven to 300.

To make the crostinis, place the sliced Ciabatta on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake until crispy, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely at room temperature. If you are doing this ahead of time, store at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Heat the oil in a 10” skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside and let cool completely at room temperature.

Stack the sage leaves, roll them tight, and slice thin with a sharp knife (chiffonade).

In a mixing bowl, combine the rinsed Navy beans and cooled onion mixture. Divide amongst the Ciabatta crostinis, about 2-3 tablespoon per crostini. Top each with the sage chiffonade and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil as desired. Serve at room temperature.

Recent Recipes

Stewed Squid

In a 2 quart sauce pan, heat the oil over medium and sweat the garlic and the crushed red pepper…

Read more

Cinnamon Cream Syrup

This pairs perfectly with Sweet Potato Pancakes. It may be better than the pancakes themselves (and they’re great). But try this recipe on regular pancakes, waffles, and French toast.

Read more

Sweet Potato Pancakes

I ate my first sweet potato pancake during my only visit to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. My family, along with another couple and their young children rented a cabin in the mountains during spring break. I woke every morning and headed into town for breakfast. I would imagine Gatlinburg has more pancake houses per capita than any place on the planet. My problem is that I never found a good-tasting pancake until I happened across sweet potato pancakes at one of the pancake houses. We serve a version of this recipe at The Midtowner. The Cinnamon Cream Syrup is a must.

Read more