I was recently putting together a party for my wife's coworkers. Since I didn't know many of the people coming I wanted to make sure I had stuff that less adventurous eaters would enjoy. So in addition to the fancier dishes I had planned I wanted some more "normal" dishes. I decided on this crostini as a good middle-ground dish. It resembles a more traditional dish but it has a subtle modernist touch.
The white bean puree is a combination of white beans, sweated onion, garlic, and dried orange peel along with some stock, lemon juice, and a touch of cream. I got the idea for the rosemary oil from the Ideas in Food blog, who do a very cool charred version. I thought the oil would add some strong herbal flavors without overwhelming the dish. The white bean puree can be made with either fresh beans or canned beans if you're in a hurry. The grated lemon zest pulls in even more highlights to the food.
If you like this recipe you can get it and more than 100 other recipes that will help you create remarkable cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and small plates that will amaze your friends. It's all in my book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Party Foods - Get Your Copy Today!
Also, if you are just getting started experimenting with molecular gastronomy and modernist cuisine then I highly recommend one of these molecular gastronomy kits. They have everything you need to do many different dishes.
Heat some oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it has softened. Add the garlic, orange peel, and thyme then cook until the garlic has softened. Add the chicken stock and white beans then bring to a simmer. Cook until the beans are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Once the cooked white bean mixture has cooled, stir in the lemon juice then puree it well. Add the cream and puree to mix. If the puree needs to be thicker, some xanthan gum can be added, about 0.1% to 0.3%.
The white bean puree will last in the refrigerator for several days and can be served cold or reheated.
Combine the olive oil and rosemary in a pot set to low heat. The oil should be just below a "fry" and if the rosemary starts to sizzle turn it down or partially remove it from the heat.
After 30 to 60 minutes the oil should have taken on most of the rosemary flavor. At this point, stir in the mono and diglyceride flakes, remove the oil from the heat and let it cool slightly.
Add the rosemary oil and parsley to a blender and puree until smooth. For a more refined presentation you can strain the oil before using it.
Place the crostini base on a serving plate, or individual plates. Add a spoonful of white bean puree on top. Dot with two to three drops of the rosemary oil and grate some fresh lemon zest on top.