Serves 4 with leftovers
Fresh rosemary- and garlic-infused olive oil turns a basic can of white kidney beans into a silky, luxurious purée. Enjoy with grilled bread, as described here, and/or fresh vegetables or pita chips.
1 can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp. removed to a small bowl for grilled breads
2 5-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
4 large garlic cloves, trimmed and halved
Scant ½ tsp. kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Pour the oil into a small saucepan and place on lowest possible heat on stovetop. Add the rosemary and garlic to the oil. Allow the oil to heat slowly until it is very lightly sizzling the rosemary and garlic. Continue cooking at the lowest heat for 5-8 minutes. Move things around once during cooking, flipping the garlic to make sure it stays very lightly cooked. Turn off the heat and set aside until you’re ready to make the purée.
Place beans into the bowl of a food processor. Add salt and pepper. Remove the sprigs of rosemary and any loose leaves from the infused olive oil. Add the “oil-poached” garlic cloves into the bowl of the food processor. Start the food processor and leave running as you add the oil in a thin stream. Run the food processor until the mixture is wholly integrated and creamy in texture. Stop to scrape down the sides while puréeing, as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings. At this point, the purée can be refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it. Take it out of the fridge an hour or two before serving to allow it to come up to room temperature.
Meanwhile, cut bread into strips. Brush the strips on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill bread briefly, just before serving, to get toasty brown lines on each side.
You can serve individual portions of purée with a couple breads alongside, or offer on a platter for sharing. Sprinkle purée with smoked paprika, large-crystal salt, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper, if you like.