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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.

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