With holiday events pulling my family in multiple directions, and friends more likely to pop in spontaneously to raise a glass, my home kitchen needs to be extra nimble this time of year. It’s recipes like this, which provide crowd-pleasing flavor in the most stress-free, flexible way, that keep me sane through it all.
Adapted from my new book, “Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals in a Single Pot, Sheet Pan, or Skillet,” this dish was designed as a fun, nutritionally balanced sheet-pan dinner for four, with plump shrimp and cannellini beans in a savory, garlic-laced tomato sauce piled onto toasted bread and showered with fresh basil.
Served on smaller slices of bread, it doubles as a delightful cocktail nibble for a larger group of guests. It can even accommodate drop-ins, because it can be made up to two days ahead and served at room temperature (which also solves the problem of divergent dinner schedules), or pulled together quickly with pantry and freezer staples. (I always have a bag of shrimp and some good crusty bread in my freezer. Shrimp thaws fast in a colander under cold running water. And if you don’t happen to have fresh basil, you could substitute parsley, arugula or even dried basil.)
Satisfying, healthful, flexible and with just one pan to clean, it’s definitely a score year-round, but especially so during the hectic holiday season.
Shrimp and white bean bruschetta
Make ahead: The toasts may be made 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container.
8 medium or 16 small, ½-inch-thick slices of crusty whole-grain bread (8 ounces)
3 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 1 mashed-up anchovy
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more as needed
1 pound medium shrimp (26-30 count), cleaned and deveined
1½ cups no-salt-added canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 medium cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with the rack in the middle. Place the bread slices on a sheet pan and brush the tops with 1 ½ tablespoons oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp and browned. Transfer the bread to serving plates.
In a medium bowl, combine 1½ tablespoons oil, the tomato paste, anchovy paste, salt and red pepper flakes. Add the shrimp, beans and garlic to the bowl and toss to coat. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices. Spread the mixture evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, stirring once midway through, until bubbling and the shrimp is pink.
Spoon the shrimp mixture generously onto the toasts; drizzle each plate with 1 teaspoon oil, and garnish with basil leaves and additional red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve right away.
Makes 4-5 servings. Nutrition per serving (based on 5): 500 calories; 16 grams total fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 150 milligrams cholesterol; 470 milligrams sodium; 45 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams dietary fiber; 7 grams sugar; 28 grams protein.