For a week steady now the climate outside has closely resembled spring, with the warmer temperatures and birds carolling transporting us to a place far removed from winter’s clutch. Even with winter lacking the usual ferocity and durability of season’s past, the warm weather has been welcomed with the usual fanfare reserved for a later arrival. You can see it in the streets, with families and children back outside and bicycles, stored away for months in safe keeping, back on the roads again. And the local market has been flooded with visitors for the first time since fall.
Spring hits you earlier each day. First thing this morning the warm early morning air filtered in through our half-open windows. We lay in bed for a few extra minutes enjoying the breeze that gets pushed in from the woods out back. And every once in a while a gust makes it way across the room and against our face. It’s the perfect way to be greeted, a steady stream of hope ushering in the morning.
After a few minutes spent enjoying the breeze we were up to take full advantage in the day. With one minor adjustment. W injured her ankle yesterday, spraining it and in the process causing some swelling and bruising. We iced it and this morning I bandaged it up. That meant rest and no weight on the foot at all. At least by my orders. But W loves the first signs of spring and the chance to soak up the first warm air of the season, so I helped her down the stairs gingerly and outside where she could rest and read.
When it came time for something to eat I grabbed some of the ingredients picked up at the market yesterday, including rosemary, an artisan baguette from a local bakery, thinly sliced sopressata, pearl red onions and some Parmesan. I spent the next few minutes in the kitchen with all the windows around me pushed as far open as they could go. It had felt like forever since I last cooked with all the windows up, the fresh air swirling all around me. It’s the rebirth of fresh.
I knew early on in our relationship that W had a love for small finger foods and crostinis. On our first date we passed on main courses for a series of appetizers. Ever since then we debate skipping on one big course for a few smaller ones each time we head out. And on the days when we plan our menu for the weekends, she likes starting the meal with an app. Like this one.
The weather outside masquerading as spring. The just-forgotten scents, noises and warmth comes flooding back. The heavy, comforting meals of winter will soon be a memory, replaced with lighter fare and smaller meals. And shortly our ritual will undergo a metamorphosis, leaving behind the comfort of home for the calling of spring.
From my kitchen to yours,
White Bean & Rosemary Crostini with Sopressata and Parmesan
- 12 slices baguette, cut on the bias
- olive oil, for brushing
- 1 garlic clove, halved, for the baguette
- 1 can cannellini beans, soaked
- 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
- 4 slices of sopressata, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 red pearl onions, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. sea salt & ground black pepper
- 12 slices of soppressata, for serving
- 1/4 cup Parmesan, shaved, for serving
- Drain the white beans and rinse under cold running water for 1 minute.
- Use a medium-sized saute pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot add in the sopressata and cook for 1 minute. Stir the sopressata and add in the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes and then add in the white beans, rosemary and stir. Add in the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice and season and stir until the beans are completely heated.
- Remove from heat and put in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Adjust for desired consistency (add a bit of water if you want it thinned a bit) Season to taste.
- Heat a grill pan over high heat. Brush the baguette slices with the remaining olive oil and grill until golden, working in batches, about 1 minute per side. Rub each slice with the cut garlic and then spread the bean mixture over top.
- Serve warm a slice Sopressata and shaved Parmesan.