Today I have another dish that reminds me so much of my childhood.. "Gigantes" means giant and "Plaki" means baked. The dish is so versatile, you can use fish or sausage but even plain, the beans are delicious.
You can find it as a side dish or an appetizer in many taverns back in Greece.
In this recipe I used salami and capers, the salami is getting almost sweet when baked and the capers give a nice balance to the sweetness of the beans.
Ingredients (6 persons)
1 pound dried big butter beans
1 big onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1 stalk of celery chopped
2 carrots sliced
4 fresh tomatoes diced
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
½ cup parsley chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
10 slices of salami or pepperoni cut into strips
2 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained
4-6 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt – Pepper
Crumbled Feta Cheese and Dry Oregano to serve
Add the beans to a bowl, cover them completely with cold water by few inches and let them soak overnight. The next day, drain them, put them back in the pan, cover with cold water and put the pan on high heat. When they come to a boil, drain them and add once again cold water. Put back on high heat and when it comes to a boil, lower the heat and let them simmer for 1 hour or until they’re soft and tender (If your beans are too old, you may need to simmer them more than an hour). Gradually skim any foam that comes up to the surface. When they are ready drain the beans and leave them aside.
Using a saucepan, add three tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the onion, add the garlic and cook for few more minutes. Add the carrots, celery, tomatoes, the tomato sauce, bay leaves, vinegar, salt and pepper, add ½ teaspoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of dry oregano. Simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes and then add the parsley.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Add the beans to a casserole dish or dutch oven and pour the tomato – vegetable sauce. Stir and toss all the ingredients together and cover with the lid. Bake the beans for 45 minutes, remove from the oven, roll and add the salami strips, capers and continue baking uncovered for 15 minutes more.
Crumble some feta, sprinkle some dry oregano, drizzle with raw Extra Virgin Olive oil and serve!