What’s On My Table – With Alexandra Dudley

Alexandra Dudley is a food columnist, cookbook author and host of the Come For Supper podcast. In this regular column, she takes us inside her east London kitchen to show us what she’s cooking and the tools she’s loving. This month, it’s a delicious brunch idea – and three of her new favourite ingredients.
By Alexandra Dudley /

This has become a staple dish recently. It’s hearty and healthy in equal measure, with a chilli kick I find hard to resist. The key is to invest in good quality ingredients. You won’t find better harissa than Belazu. I use its smoked chilli harissa for this, which brings a wonderful fiery smokiness that works perfectly with the plump creamy beans. 

Make sure you look for jarred beans as opposed to canned. The bigger the butterbean the better. I’ve used a British soft cheese called Graceburn to finish this. It is wonderfully creamy and is less aggressive in its saltiness than feta. I do recommend trying it, but a full-fat feta will also do. This is delicious enjoyed as cold leftovers or reheated in the oven. 

I love this with a cool glass of rosé. Babylonstoren Mourvèdre Rosé is perfect. A light and dry rosé, it has a subtle punch of acidity which cuts through the heat.

Harissa Baked Butter Beans

Serves
2-4
Total Time
45 Minutes
Ingredients
1 fennel, quartered
1 small onion, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp of smoked chilli or rose harissa, I use Belazu
1 tsp of smoked paprika (only if you are not using smoked chilli harissa)
1 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of red wine vinegar
100g of taggiasche or kalamata olives
600g of good-quality jarred butterbeans (I like Bold Bean Co)
100g of Graceburn cheese or full-fat feta
Parsley or dill to serve
Method
Step 1
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C Fan.
Step 2
Cut the fennel into wedges, and place in a deep oven-proof dish large enough to hold the beans. Toss with a good drizzle of olive oil and sea salt and bake for 20 minutes while you make the sauce.
Step 3
In a large, deep saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of oil. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Step 4
Add the chopped tinned tomatoes, harissa, vinegar and sugar. Stir to combine, then stir through the olives. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly reduced.
Step 5
Drain and rinse the butterbeans. Add these to the sauce and stir to combine.
Step 6
Spoon the beans into the dish with the fennel and toss gently to combine. Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling.
Step 7
Crumble over the Graceburn or feta and sprinkle over fronds of fresh dill. Serve alongside toasted sourdough or focaccia.

3 Things Alexandra’s Loving This Month…

Smoked Chilli Harissa, £4.85 | Belazu

This is the best harissa in the business. It is so worth investing in good quality harissa and Belazu are the experts. Its rose harissa is also a favourite of mine and would be good in this too.

Visit Belazu.com

Queen Butterbeans, £4.50 | Bold Bean Co.

I am obsessed with these beans. They are the creamiest, biggest butter beans around and are completely delicious. The business is female run too.

Visit BoldBeanCo.com

Marinated Soft Cheese, £14 | Graceburn

I first tried this cheese at a restaurant in Hackney called Café Cecilia. I was blown away by its delicate creaminess and flavour. It’s similar to feta, but much more complex. I also love it in salads or thrown into omelettes or frittatas. It’s British made, which is always a plus.

For more from Alexandra, follow her @AlexandraDudley or visit AlexandraDudley.com

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