On a recent trip to NYC, we ate a fancy-schmancy pizza restaurant. You know, the kind that you really shouldn't bring kids to and the end up wondering why they put you at a table where there is a wall of wine bottles that your four-year-old keeps elbowing and knocking over the wobbly ill-placed vessels. In any case, turns out the $25 pizza we had was just good, not great, but the bean dip with crostini that brought to the table before the meal was outstanding. I had been craving it ever since, so I tried to make a less oily version of it for dinner. The restaurant's version was more a flavored olive oil dip with smashed cannellini beans, and I wanted to make it more of a spread for grilled ciabatta bread.
My seven-year-old has been off school for two weeks and is already claiming that she is bored, so I am trying to involve her with household chores. She absolutely loves to be useful! In between the day's frequent rain storms, I sent her outside to pick some sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Being the girl she is, she even diligently plucked the leaves off the stem before giving them to me! I later put her little hands to work smashing the ingredients (her favorite part).
White Bean Spread with Thyme, Lemon, Rosemary, and Crushed Black Pepper Spread Recipe vegan; makes about 1.5 cups
- 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup of a very, very good quality olive oil
- about 2 tsp minced garlic (to taste)
- 6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme (about 1 TB, leaves only)
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary (about 1/2 TB chopped)
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- the zest of one lemon (1/2 for the spread, 1/2 for garnish)
- lots of crushed black pepper (to taste!)
- sea salt (to taste)
- dash of white wine (optional, use alcohol-free if you are a teetotaler)
- Put all ingredients in a flat-bottom bowl and smash with a potato masher. Mix until creamy (but leave a few larger chunks for texture.
- Grill your bread of choice using olive oil.
- Spread the bean mixture on finished bread. Dress with extra olive oil, herbs, crushed black pepper and the extra zest. Tip: Would also make a great sandwich spread, topped with grilled veggies and sun dried tomatoes. And oooh! You could even sprinkle the top with roasted pine nuts. Go crazy!
I served the crostini with broccoli rabe stewed with sun-dried tomatoes. Our favorite!