These Italian dinner cakes are perfectly healthy and fresh, with a crispy cornmeal outside that’s balanced by a creamy, white-bean-filled inside. Served over a salad of spinach and frisée lettuce, this recipe encourages playing with your food, but only if you eat every last bite afterwards.

  • Yield: 2 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 45 mins
  • Active: 25 mins

Ingredients (15)

  • 1 can white beans
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons pecorino cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 packets (about 2 teaspoons) Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 frisée lettuce
  • 3 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese


  1. Reserving liquid from can, drain white beans and rinse. Finely chop sun-dried tomatoes. Pick rosemary leaves and mince, discarding stems. Peel shallot and mince. Rinse spinach and frisée. Tear frisée leaves into 1-inch pieces and discard root.
  2. In a large bowl, using a fork, smash white beans until mostly smooth. Add sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, grated pecorino, and crushed red pepper, if desired. Mix to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add cornmeal and 2 tablespoons reserved liquid from beans and mix again.
  3. Shape mixture into 4 equal patties, about 3/4-inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. Place on a plate and chill in fridge for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add shallot and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add white wine vinegar and simmer until reduced by half, 30 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl.
  4. Add 1 packet mustard to bowl with shallots and stir to combine, discarding remaining mustard. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and whisk to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the pan from dressing. When oil is shimmering, add patties and cook until golden on outside and warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
  6. In a large bowl, toss spinach and frisée with half of dressing. Divide salad evenly between 2 plates. Top with patties, spoon over remaining dressing, garnish with shaved Parmesan, and serve.