White bean rosemary spread

November 3, 2007 at 6:00 pm (Beans, B_, Cook's Illustrated, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, restaurant inspired)


I had a white bean rosemary spread on crostini at a restaurant recently, and really enjoyed it. I looked in my cookbooks for a recipe, but couldn’t find one. I figured I’d just wing it–how hard could it be?

  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped rosemary
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 Tbs. chopped onion

Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

My Notes: This is approximately what I did–I didn’t measure that carefully. It had a good texture, not too thin or runny, and it tasted good, but the rosemary flavor wasn’t as strong as I would have liked. I bet it’s going to be really strong tomorrow though, after a day of sitting in the fridge, and I’m going to regret putting in so much rosemary. The final product is surprisingly similar to hummus, despite the lack of chickpeas and tahini. I enjoyed it on my Lebanese flat bread.

In Cook’s Illustrated Best Light Recipe they say they tried a number of different beans for a simple bean puree preparation. They claimed that frozen limas produced a puree with off flavors and a chalky texture; edamame puree was bland and gritty; black eyed pea puree had a muddy flavor and was even more gritty; chickpeas tasted thin and tinny; navy beans had a stale, canned aste; great Northern beans had good flavor but weren’t as creamy as they wanted. In the end, they said they preferred Cannelini beans over all others, since they easily break down into a silky, rich puree. I hadn’t read this when I chose cannellini beans for this recipe. They’re just what I happened to have around. If I ever try one of these other beans instead I’ll be sure to come back and write a comparison. Also, in their comparison of different brands of canned white beans they preferred Progresso over the others they tried.

I compared the cook’s illustrated light recipe for white bean puree with rosemary to my improvised recipe. They add 1/3 cup of water to their beans, and use only 1 1/3 tsp. of olive oil, 1 1/3 tsp. garlic, and 1/3 tsp. of rosemary per 1 can of beans! Clearly their recipe would be much more mild than my version. Their recipe does not use any lemon juice or onion either, although it does call for a bit of pepper flakes. The technique is also different. They have you puree the beans with the water, the saute the garlic and red pepper flakes in oil briefly, then add the bean puree and cook for about 10 minutes, then drizzle a bit of oil over the top to finish it off.  I’m curious how much of a difference cooking the puree makes.  I know that in my recipe I felt the raw garlic was a bit sharp tasting, and cooking would mellow it.  But other than that I’m not sure what it accomplishes.  Perhaps it allows their puree to be flavorful even with such small amounts of all the seasonings.

Advertisements

1 Comment

  1. My favorite raw veggies and accompanying dips | The captious vegetarian said,

    […] a white bean and rosemary spread […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: