Once upon a time, I ate a fish soup dolloped handsomely with aioli, and boy was that a day. It was less about how good the soup or the aioli were, and more the pleasure of stirring a little (or the whole lot) of something rich, potent and creamy into the warm, light soup. The more I stirred, the more decadent the soup became. I think both greens and beans take well to creaminess, so I’ve used them as conduits here in this light summer stew, to re-create a similar experience for you.
Summer beans with basil aïoli
You’ll need a blender or stick blender to make the aioli.
Prep 10 min
Cook 40 min
200g silken tofu (drained weight)
5 garlic cloves, peeled, 3 minced
1¼ tsp fine sea salt
1½ tbsp lemon juice
20g picked basil leaves, plus extra to serve
7 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
6 sticks celery (400g net), finely chopped
1 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
200g green beans, halved
150ml white wine
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained
In a blender (or with a stick blender), blitz together the tofu, the two whole peeled garlic cloves, a quarter-teaspoon of salt, lemon juice, the basil leaves and three tablespoons of oil, then transfer to a serving bowl.
Put the remaining four tablespoons of oil in a medium to large saucepan on a medium heat and, when hot, add the celery and onion, and sweat, stirring often, for 20 minutes, until reduced and caramelised. Add the three minced cloves of garlic, cook, stirring, for two minutes, then stir in the tomato puree, remaining teaspoon of salt and the green beans. Add the wine and let it evaporate away for about six or so minutes. Add the cannellini beans and 600ml just-boiled water, leave to simmer for five to seven minutes, until the cannellini are tender, then take off the heat.
Distribute the beans between two bowls and serve each topped with a dollop of basil aïoli, plenty more olive oil and a few basil leaves.