Soak the beans over night to reduce the cooking time and flatulence associated with beans. Using a pressure cooker cuts the cooking time to a fraction. You may also use canned beans for this recipe. If using canned white beans, or making a big pot, you’ll need 2 cups (380g) of beans, drained. Reserve some of the liquid, as indicated in the recipe. You can use whatever herbs you like. Fresh basil works quite well, as does parsley, savory and tarragon. Serve the dip with toasted slices of bread, raw veggie sticks or whole-grain crackers.
3/4 cup (6 ounces, 225g) dried white beans
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup (60ml) bean cooking liquid
1 tsp Asophoetida (obtainable from any good Indian store)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons 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.
Bring the beans to a gentle boil with a bay leaf, making sure there is plenty of water covering them. Cook until completely tender, (until you can squash a bean easily between two fingers), 1 to 2 hours, depending on the beans. If using a pressure cooker 10-20 min.
Drain the beans, reserving some of the liquid. Puck out the bay leaf and let the beans cool until tepid.
In a small pot or saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and when just hot add the asophetida. Remove from heat. Use a spatula and scrape the oil and spice into the beans.
Put the beans along with 1/4 cup (60ml) of their cooking liquid in a blender or food processor, and blend with the half of the parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and 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. Serves 4