This simple and quick recipe is a fuss-free mid-week dinner. Its ability to come together in a short time doesn’t, however, mean that it is any less tasty than those recipes which require serious commitment and a huge ingredients list. This dish is packing some big bold flavours from the salty anchovies to the spicy chilli. If you are not a fan of salt, you can eliminate an anchovy or two, and feel free to adjust the chilli to your liking.
Note, I prefer jarred butterbean over tinned but both will work. If you don’t have any chard, kale and other leafy greens will work too.
Serves 2 as a main or 3 as a side
Photography: Safia Shakarchi
450g pre-cooked butter beans, drainedch
150g of roughly chopped chard of your choice, separate the stalks from the leaves.
4 anchovy fillets
2 large garlic cloves crushed
1 medium onion, finely diced
Half a juice of a lemon + 1 tbsp zest
Half a red or green chilli finely diced
2 tablespoons of olive oil and some extra for drizzling
Place the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick pan and fry off the diced onion for 10 to 15 minutes. Low and slow is what you need for jammy soft onions, so try to avoid browning.
Once the onions are soft, turn up the heat to medium high and add in the anchovy fillets. It’s at this point I like to sneak in an additional drizzle of the oil the anchovies have come in. This is not required but if like me you don’t like to waste food it’s a good way to use the umami rich oil which will add that extra bit of depth to the dish.
Crush the fillets with the back of a fork allowing enough time for them to completely break down. They cook quickly so 4 minutes is more than enough time. If you can still see the very fine hair like bones in the anchovy, continue to crush and cook them down a little while longer.
Turn down the heat to medium and add the grated garlic and diced chilli, keeping the ingredients moving so that they don’t stick to the pan. It should begin to resemble a paste at this point. Keep cooking for an additional 3 minutes making sure the chilli and garlic have cooked through and squeeze in half of the lemon juice. This will lift up all the sticky bits from the pan adding to the rich umami flavour.
Add the chopped chard stalks and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. The stalks need that little while longer than the leaves. Once they have softened add the leaves and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes depending on the type of greens you are using. I like my chard and kale to have some bite but if you prefer yours softer then continue cooking on a medium heat.
Add the butter beans and stir through, allowing enough time to warm them. This shouldn’t take long as they are pre-cooked. To finish off the dish grate the lemon zest and drizzle over some good quality olive oil and serve warm.