Genève’s Kitchen

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June 1st, 2006 · 1,735 Comments

bean dip.JPGWith the summer weather kicking-in here in Santa Monica I want to take full advantage of the little balcony that we have for some al fresco dining. To inaugurate our summer dinners a-la-balcony I decided to set up an aperitif outside to get things started. The usual suspect to accompany an aperitif is often a cheese platter but I was looking for something a little lighter and also refreshingly different.
What I came up with is a white bean dip infused with the summery flavors of basil and lemon. To add an even greater depth of flavor I added toasted pine nuts. I’m so pleased with how this dip came out that I plan to make it again and again. Fortunately I made enough last night for an encore appearance tonight. I served this dip with some toasted crostini and a lovely chilled rose wine. (Annick – as you can probably guess, we drank our favorite, Big House Pink).

Tuscan White Bean Dip with Basil and Lemon

1 15 oz. Can of cannellini beans (rinse well with cold water in a colander before using)
1 small handful of fresh basil leaves (I used about 6-8 big leaves)
1/2 Garlic clove
2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 pinches of lemon zest
Sea salt/ Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1) In a dry pan I add the pine nuts over medium heat. Make sure to keep a watchful eye when toasting nuts because this takes very little time and it’s super easy to burn them. Gently shuffle the pan a little bit from time to time so they get a nice golden color evenly on more than one side. You’ll begin to smell the nutty aroma of the nuts and you’ll notice they start to glisten as the oils begin to emerge from them – these are signs that they are just about ready. When they look slightly golden or toasted remove from heat and allow to cool before adding them to the rest of the ingredients in the food processor.

2) While the pine nuts are cooling begin by rinsing the beans to rid them of the syrup in which they are preserved and add them to a food processor along with the garlic clove, olive oil, basil leaves, lemon juice, lemon zest (this is best removed using a microplane or super-fine grater that will just remove the zest – avoid getting the white part known as the pith which is very bitter). Also add the toasted pine nuts which have cooled. Pulse these ingredients together in the blender – before it’s completely blended together add a pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Blend it and then taste – if you think it needs more salt or pepper add a little bit at a time. I try to blend the mixture so that it’s all combined but still has a little bit of texture meaning it isn’t completely perfectly smooth – blend it to your desired consistency though.

Enjoy with crostini which are just toasted pieces of baguette – I slice pieces of bread about 1/2 -1 inch think and line them on a baking sheet. Stick them under the broiler in the oven for about 5-10 minutes until they are toasted.

It’s so easy to make a lot of this dip so it’s great for parties and entertaining! It holds up very well in the fridge too so you can make it the day before.

Tags: Appetizers · Dip · Entertaining · Party Food

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