It’s been hot in Los Angeles, but I’ll never be one of those people who just won’t cook in July and August. I can’t subsist on ice cream and limp lettuce. So when it’s very (very) hot I try to keep a cool head and devise low-effort meals. The trick is to choose make-ahead dishes that are worth the effort. Well for me just about anything slathered on toast is worth the effort. You can make a whole meal from build-it-yourself crostini. It’s kind of like the “cheese and crackers” model that you loved as a kid. While cheese is nice, these days I’m also more likely to broaden the choices of what might appear on the platter. It’s a common practice known as meze in Mediterranean cultures, pintxos among the Basque, and I swear the Hawaiians call it a pu pu platter. However today I want to talk about just one element from my “pu pu platter” – what the Greeks call Gigantes Plaki, or giant beans.
Usually served with bread, Gigantes Plaki (Giant beans baked in tomato sauce, sometimes spelled gigandes) often appear alongside things like olives, feta cheese, tzatziki, and hummus, as part of a meze spread before dinner. However, I served a similar meze platter as dinner when I made these beans. As I said it was hot and the beans (which I cooked early in the morning before the heat set in) were the only thing that required the oven.
Busy schedule? No worries – Gigantes Plaki can easily be made in parts or stages. They’ll last for days in the refrigerator too. GREG
PS I found these beans at Rancho Gordo.