POETRY OF FOOD [via Carol White]

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Carol White
Carol White is a Napa Valley-based food writer and editor who has passionately devoted herself to the study of food and cooking. She was previously based in Toronto, where she worked as a food editor for one of Canada’s most popular magazines, Canadian Living, and edited a weekly food column for Canada’s largest newspaper, The Toronto Star. Carol is also the editor of the highly successful President’s Choice Cookbook and President’s Choice Barbecue Cookbook. Over the years, Carol has evolved a style of cooking that friends call “Cuisine Carolaise.” While not French, per se, Cuisine Carolaise can be described as rustic, clean, rich in flavor and based on the freshest, best-quality ingredients available.

My Most Requested Recipe

I frequently use Great Northern beans to make this dish, but you can also start with Navy or Cannellini beans. None of the beans need pre-soaking. The olive oil you choose is very important in the final result, so be sure to use an excellent quality, flavor-rich oil. As well, when you purchase fresh sage, always smell it first to make sure it’s fragrant. Some people caution that adding salt too early in the cooking of beans prevents them from getting tender, but I’ve never experienced this myself.

For convenience, this dish can be made a few hours ahead and kept on the stove until dinnertime. Reheat for a few minutes (add a little water if necessary), stirring often and watching carefully so beans don’t burn

2 cups dried white beans (Great Northern, Navy or Cannellini), picked over and rinsed
7 cups cold water (preferably filtered)
4 or 5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 or 6 fresh sage leaves (or more to taste)
2 tsp kosher salt (I prefer Morton Kosher Salt)
Freshly ground pepper

In a medium-size saucepan, combine beans and water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and when beans start to simmer, add garlic, oil, sage leaves and salt. Continue cooking, uncovered, until beans are tender and most of liquid has evaporated, about 1-1/2 hours, stirring periodically. Beans should be gently simmering the entire time; if liquid dries out before beans are finished cooking, add a little more water as required. Spoon into serving bowl and season with freshly ground pepper to taste.


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