White Bean And Artichoke Puree
This is an almost absurdly simple, rustic appetizer at Del Porto, one of the area’s most sophisticated Italian restaurants. My wife–who holds dips in the highest imaginable regard–thinks this is one of the best she ever had. I like it too. It gets better if you make it a day ahead.
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 Tbs. chopped garlic
- 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 3 cups cooked white beans
- 2 whole lemon-braised artichoke hearts with the stems, chopped (or one small jar artichoke hearts packed in oil)
- 1/2 cups artichoke liquid (can use water)
- 1 Tbs. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet until it shimmers. Add the garlic. When you can see the first signs of browning, add the thyme and remove the pan from the heat. Spoon the entire contents of the pan into a large bowl to cool.
2. In two or three batches (depending on how big your food processor is), combine all the remaining Ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth. (A few small solid grains are okay.)Check seasonings and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
3. Combine all the batches in the bowl with the olive oil and garlic. Mix with a rubber spatula until well blended.
4. Garnish with extra-virgin olive oil, olive, capers, caper berries, and fresh chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread as an appetizer.
Makes about three cups–enough for 12-16.