White Beans with Charred Spinach
These braised white beans are the most flavorful white beans you’ll ever taste. Spices penetrate the beans while they cook in a liquid infused with charred spinach. Inspired by the traditional Tunisian dish pkaila, this braise starts with frying dry spinach leaves in oil until they’re nearly blackened. Not only does cooking down spinach make it delicious by concentrating its essential green flavor, it also shortens the beans’ cooking time. Honestly, I don’t understand the chemistry behind why that happens; I just know it works. The combination takes to a range of seasonings, and the cooked beans can be used in count- less ways, from casseroles to spreads. Bay leaves reinforce the taste of green spinach leaves, while cumin and fennel lend their aromas to the mix. You can eat these beans straight, over rice or couscous, or scooped onto flatbreads.