Sunday, June 10, 2012

White Bean and Feta Dip

This is a tasty to morsel to share with friends, and requires no heat to make (a big bonus in these summer months).  It is sort of like an Italian hummus: smooth, creamy bean dip flavored with garlic and lemon.  Unlike hummus, it is made with white beans, as opposed to chickpeas, and it does not contain tahini (a sesame seed paste that all legitimate hummus contains).  It also has some fresh herbs in it.  I would recommend putting them in at the very end of the blending process, as my herbs became a little overly-pulverized for my tastes.  It was still delicious. 
I made a big mess
It is based on a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis, but made infinitely better by the addition of feta cheese.  She recommends serving it with pita chips, but I prefer sliced hothouse cucumber.  It’s much more refreshing.  I used an immersion blender to make this.  The recipe is easier with a traditional blender, but still manageable with an immersion blender.  You may have to dislodge some beans from the blade intermittently, and occasionally do a little hand mixing for even distribution of ingredients.  Or at least that’s what happened to me.  But it was well worth that minimal extra effort for a creamy, garlicky, crowd-pleasing appetizer. 
White Bean and Feta Dip (adapted from Giada de Laurentiis)

1-14 oz. can cannellini beans or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove of garlic, grated on a microplane
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (you may not need all of it)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Hot house/seedless cucumber, sliced
Extra feta, herbs, and olive oil for garnish

-       Place beans, lemon juice, water, and grated garlic in the base of a blender or the canister of an immersion blender.  Pulse a few times to begin to combine the ingredients.
-       Add olive oil slowly (if using a traditional blender, use a slow steady stream; if using an immersion blender, add a tablespoon or two at a time, blend, hand stir, and repeat until you achieve your desired consistency).
-       Add herbs, feta, and salt/pepper.  Blend again.  Check for seasoning.  Garnish with an extra drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of herbs and feta, if desired.  Serve with cucumber slices, crackers, or tortilla chips, etc.

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