1 cup dried white cannellini beans (or use 2 cans of cannellini beans)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ onion, peeled
1 stick celery
1 small carrot
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 red chilli (or a good pinch chilli flakes)
1-2 sprigs sage leaves
1 good handful marjoram or oregano leaves
juice of ½ lemon
extra virgin olive oil
3-4 large green tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar (optional)
½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 batch cooked cannellini beans, warmed
grilled bread
2 burrata

Sometimes it can be hard to know exactly what a recipe means when it says a green tomato – does it mean an unripe tomato or one such as the Green Zebra variety that is naturally green to yellow when ripe? In this case it is the unripe tomato that is used. I like the crunch and play of acidity from the tomatoes when tempered with the creaminess of the beans and burrata. It’s not absolutely necessary to cut them with the vinegar and sugar but it does help to mellow them slightly. I’m a firm believer in adding baking soda to both the soaking beans and the cooking liquid – the alkaline helps to cook and soften the beans faster.

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2.Put the white beans in a large bowl, cover generously with water and ½ teaspoon baking soda.
3.Soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.
4.Drain and rinse well, put into a large saucepan and cover generously with water.
5.Add the remaining baking soda.
6.Bring up to a gentle simmer, remove any froth, then add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, red chilli and sage leaves.
7.Simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are tender.
8.Remove the aromatics – you can discard them, but generally I keep most of them, mashing the garlic and chopping the chilli, celery and carrot into a small dice then adding them back into the beans; I do discard the sage.
9.Allow to cool in the cooking liquid.
10.When ready to use (ideally they should still be a little warm) take a cup of beans and mash with some of the cooking liquid, then return to the pot.
11.If using canned beans, drain and then cook in some stock with some of the aromatics listed above, then proceed with the recipe.
13.Using a pestle and mortar, pound the marjoram with a little sea salt.
14.Add the lemon juice and olive oil to taste.
15.If necessary, sprinkle the green tomatoes with the vinegar and sugar and leave to sit for 15 minutes.
16.Add the parsley to the warmed beans and season to taste.
17.Spoon a good helping of beans onto each plate with some grilled bread and add the tomatoes.
18.Break over the burrata, drizzle over some herb dressing and serve.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Jessica Hemmings

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