Nigel Slater's midweek dinner: bacon and beans

The recipe

Peel a medium-sized onion and roughly chop it. Warm a film of olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan and soften the chopped onion in it over a moderate heat. Peel, crush and add a large clove of garlic.

Drain a 400g can of chickpeas and another of butter beans and rinse briefly in a colander under running water. Bring to the boil in a pan of water, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes till thoroughly hot. Drain and add to the cooked onion.

Season the onions and beans with a little ground paprika, some salt and black pepper. Blitz the onions and beans in a food processor then stir in a couple of tbsp of crème fraîche. Grill or fry eight rashers of smoked streaky bacon till thoroughly crisp. Serve with the bean purée. Serves 2 as a light meal.

The trick

Use canned beans for speed. If you want to use dried beans soak them overnight, then drain and boil for a good 45 minutes or longer till they are tender. Use a pressure cooker if you wish to speed things up. Should you need to keep the purée warm for any length of time, do so in a covered mixing bowl in a pan of simmering water. Add the crème fraîche at the last minute.

The twist

Spread the bean mixture on to bruschetta or crispbread and place the crisp bacon, cut into short lengths, on top. Use another bean, such as cannellini or flageolet, instead of the butter beans. Spice with toasted cumin seed, ground coriander or ground chilli. Use the purée alongside grilled gammon.

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