Coconut White Beans + Coconut Chili Crunch
2 cups cassoulet (tarbais) beans - I prefer Rancho Gordo, they are absolutely exquisite: large, hearty, and hold up to cooking. You could also opt for flageolet, white lima, or large cannelini. The bigger the better!
6 cups vegetable stock*
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large shallots, sliced
1 cup coarsley chopped fennel
4 sprigs thyme
1 can coconut cream
coconut chili crunch
1/2 cup olive oil
8 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
3 tbsp chile flake, like espelette, aleppo, or marash
1/2 cup panko
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
big pinch kosher salt
2 bunches asparagus
2 bunches baby spring onions
grapeseed oil, aerosol
In a dutch oven, saute shallots and fennel in olive oil, until lightly browned and aromatic. Add white beans and stir constantly for one minute. Add thyme leaves and stir again. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover. Cook for 1 hour, removing the cover and stirring occasionally. Add coconut cream and let simmer for another 30 minutes - 1 hour, depending on desired firmness of beans. Cooking time will be less if you soak the beans 12 hours before. Since it's mostly hands off, I just make sure I start two hours before I'd like to eat, since usually I don't remember to soak the beans!
While the beans are cooking, make the chili crunch. Bring olive oil up to med-high and fry garlic, stirring frequently until garlic is golden-brown. Lower heat to medium. You want the garlic to be crisp but not burnt, so watch carefully. Add chile flake and panko and stir frequently for 2 minutes. Add shredded coconut last. The concoction should be crisp and should have soaked up most of the oil - it shouldn't be soggy. Continue to saute until crisp. Set aside.
Meanwhile, over a grill pan, grill asparagus and green onions in batches. Spray lightly with grapeseed oil. They should remain bright green with subtle grill marks, about 1.5 minutes per side. Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper after grilling is complete.
Serve white beans topped with half of the asparagus and green onions (set the other veggies aside for tomorrow's meal!), and top each serving with 2 tbsp of coconut chili crunch. Serve as a side with smoked paprika & mirin scallops.