Monday, February 25, 2013

Creamy White Bean Dip

I need to talk to you about this dip ASAP.

It may have bypassed hummus on my list of delicious spreads that I would dip anything in.

This white bean dip is creamy and dreamy. It is packed with fresh herbs and bright lemon juice. A bit of olive oil and pureed white beans make this thick and smooth.

There is this amazing restaurant in Boston called Rustic Kitchen. I've eaten there three times in the past year and the meal has never disappointed. To start off dinner, they serve a delicious homemade foccaccia bread with a white bean dip. This was the inspiration. I love the white bean dip there...I've asked for a second helping on more than one occasion.

Go big or go home, they say.

Yesterday, we hosted an Oscar viewing party to celebrate the 85th Academy Awards. As I was trying to think of a fun menu for the evening, my mind immediately went to white bean dip. It is elegant and unassuming. Fresh dill, parsley, and rosemary make this dip the perfect compliment to a homemade foccaccia bread (coming soon!!) and English cucumbers and carrot sticks and pretzels.

This dip starts the night before you plan on serving it. White beans are soaked in cold water overnight. The next morning, they are boiled for 1 to 2 hours until tender. After that, it's all about blending everything together.

The beans and a generous amount of their cooking liquid are the base. Extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice add texture and tang. Garlic, dill, rosemary, and parsley are the secret flavor weapons. Salt and pepper finish it off for good measure.

It's that simple! In no time at all, you have a delicious dip to bring to cocktail parties or the big game. Hummus is great, yes, but White Bean Dip is the dip of the future. I could barely stop myself from eating it out of the serving bowl with a spoon. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Here's what you need for Creamy White Bean Dip:

1 1/2 cups dry white beans
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup bean cooking liquid
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic, coarsely minced
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh dill
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
Generous amount of salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Here's what you do:

In a medium bowl, cover the beans with enough water to be about an inch above the top of the beans. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, drain and clean the beans. Transfer to a medium pot and cover with plenty of water. Generously salt the water and add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer about 1 hour and 30 minutes until beans are extremely tender. Reserve the necessary bean cooking liquid then drain the rest. Allow beans to cool.

In a blender or food processor, combine the beans, liquid, water, garlic, lemon juice, oil, and herbs. Blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula. Add more water to thin the dip to your liking. I blended mine for about 30 seconds in 3 to 4 intervals, and added just an extra splash of water.

Season with salt and pepper and pulse a couple of more times. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle the top with olive oil just before serving. White bean dip is a delicious compliment to fresh breads, crackers, pretzels, and vegetables.

Note: Adapted from David Lebovitz

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