2 (3/4-ounce) slices French bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1/2 pound dried navy beans
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
18 cups chopped curly endive (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 1/3 cups diced seeded tomato
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine bread cubes and crushed garlic in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal bag, and shake to coat bread cubes. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until toasted.
Sort and wash beans, and place in a large Dutch oven. Cover beans with water to 2 inches above beans. Bring beans to a boil, and cook 2 minutes. Remove beans from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain.
Add bay leaf and 2 cups water to beans in pan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Discard bay leaf. Add curly endive; cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato, basil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Spoon bean mixture into a medium bowl. Drizzle with oil, and top with croutons.
Note: Substitute 2 1/2 cups drained canned beans, such as navy, cannellini, or other white beans, for dry beans. Do not soak canned beans.