Thursday, April 17, 2008

rosemary and white bean dip

sorry for the lack of a photo, but i ate this too quickly to take one and share. this was a dip born of two things; my dislike of hummus and my affinity for recipes that can be made in a flash for last minute gatherings. i realize that not liking hummus is an unpopular opinion, and to qualify, i don't hate hummus...i just wouldn't ever seek it out. the flavor just doesn't "do it" for me. white beans, however, are lovely. this dip is so dead simple and even the hummus lovers in my office were pleased. give it a go!

2 cans great northern or cannelini beans, drained
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 head of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil, plus about 4 tablespoons
salt and fresh cracked pepper

special tools:
food processor
aluminum foil

preheat your oven to 350 degrees. cut the head of garlic in half (chopping off the top of the cloves) then coat all of the pieces well in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and wrap in a bit of aluminum foil. place into the oven and leave for about 35 to 40 minutes. you can check on the "doneness" of the garlic by piercing a clove (down towards the root) with a knife or fork. if it's soft and yielding, it's ready. if not, put it back in the oven and check on it at intervals of 10 minutes.
once the garlic is ready squeeze or pry out each individual clove from the skin, discarding the skin. place these into the work bowl of your food processor. add in the drained beans and the leaves of one and a half of the sprigs of rosemary, reserving the tip of the second sprig. add salt and pepper to taste and pulse until it is a thickish paste. begin adding in the olive oil while the processor is on, very slowly so that it can incorporate. check the consistency with your finger (or a spoon, your call) and if it needs to be smoother or thinner add more olive oil.
top with the sprig of rosemary and serve chilled.

this dip is healthy and hearty. it can be served with pita or fresh veg, or even used as a sandwich spread. it is an interesting variation on hummus and i really enjoy the blank canvas that are great northern beans. this could be made with a lot of varieties of beans and several variations on the beans with cilantro and lime juice with some corn and roasted red pepper would be delicious for instance.
i had this at work with me and one of my friends even stirred it into her rice and was pleased at the results...the possibilities are endless.

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