I first made these what now seems like an age ago for a dear friends baby shower, but have bought them out again and again since that day. These are quick to construct, delicious and easy to modify into a vegetarian friendly starter. Another benefit is they can be prepared ahead of time, so all you (or your first guest) needs to do is assemble them at the last minute.
+ 5 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
+ 2 x 400 g tins cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
+ small handful of fresh sage leaves to cook with, finely chopped PLUS around 25 whole leaves to garnish
+ finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
+ 3/4 cup (150g) feta (softer is better, try Danish or Persian)
+ freshly ground salt and pepper to season
+ 12 slices of proscuitto
+ 1 baguette, cut into thin slices
+ 1 cup (250 ml) canola oil
+ extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
BEFORE THE PARTY
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Place the garlic cloves in the oven on a small baking tray. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until soft in the middle. Remove, and once cooled squeeze the soft pulp into the bowl you are about to start work on.
Add the cannellini beans, chopped sage, lemon zest and juice, and feta to a large bowl. Using a potato masher, break the beans up to form a thick paste. Season with salt and pepper, and the cooled garlic pulp.
To prepare your proscuitto, place it under a hot grill and cook for 2-3 minutes until crispy. Allow cool, before breaking into shards. Set aside.
ON THE DAY
Heat the canola oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat until very hot. Working in batches of 4-5 leaves at a time, fry the sage for 20-30 seconds until dark green and crispy. Watch them carefully though, they burn fast! Remove and set aside on paper towel.
Lightly toast the baguette slices under a hot grill. Allow to cool.
To assemble, take a slice of baguette and smear with 1 teaspoon of the garlic and bean paste. Top with one or two shards of proscuitto, and a crispy sage leaf. Once you have arranged all on a platter, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on top before serving.
Original recipe sourced from What Katie Ate.