Six to eight appetizer-sized servingsSoaking the beans the night before drastically reduces the cooking time. And I’ll often cook extra beans, to maximize my energy-efficiency, and use them for soup. If using canned white beans, or making a big pot, you’ll need 2 cups (380g) of beans, drained for the dip.
Reserve some of the liquid, as indicated in the recipe for making the dip. You can use whatever herbs you like. Fresh basil works quite well, as does sage, and tarragon would add a nice sharpness.
Serve the dip with toasted slices of bread, or whole-grain crackers.
3/4 cup (6 ounces, 225g) dried white beans
One bay leaf
1/4 cup (60ml) bean cooking liquid
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
generous pinch of red pepper powder
Additional olive oil and fresh herbs, for garnish
Rinse the dried beans and sort them, checking for stones or debris. Soak the beans overnight in cold water. The next day, bring the beans to a gentle boil with a bay leaf, making sure there is plenty of water covering them. Cook until completely tender, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the beans. (If you live in an area with hard water, a pinch of baking soda can be added to the water to help the beans cook and soften.) Drain the beans, reserving some of the liquid. Puck out the bay leaf and let the beans cool until tepid. Put the beans along with 1/4 cup (60ml) of their cooking liquid in a blender or food processor, and blend with the garlic, dill, mint, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and red pepper powder. You’ll need to stop the machine a few times and scrape down the sides, but do puree it long enough for it to be completely smooth, which will take several minutes.Taste, and adjust for seasoning, adding more salt or olive oil if desired. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon or so of the reserved bean liquid or olive oil. Garnish with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of fresh chopped herbs.