Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cannellini Spread with Garlic and Cilantro

Quick, easy, delightful, and tastes like springtime on a plate.

1 shallot, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Handful fresh cilantro
Dash or four of ground cumin
Dash or two of paprika
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper (or sub 1 pinch cayenne pepper)
Crackers or toasts

Optional (but highly recommended):
2-3 handfuls baby arugula, very coarsely chopped
(or sub baby spinach, coarsely chopped)
Juice of 1/3 Meyer lemon

Heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and a pinch of salt, and turn the heat down to medium low. Saute for about 3 minutes or until the garlic softens, then remove from the heat.

Combine the cannellini beans, shallot-garlic mixture (with the oil), and cilantro in a Cuisinart and blend until smooth. Add a dash or four of ground cumin, a touch of paprika, and the Aleppo pepper, and blend again. Taste and adjust salt, cumin, paprika, and cilantro as needed (you want the cilantro taste prominent but not overpowering, and the cumin and paprika as more of a background note. If you like the balance of flavors but want to bring them out more, add a little salt).

Toss the baby arugula with a light drizzle of olive oil and Meyer lemon juice, if desired, and arrange in a ring on a plate or soup bowl. Add the spread to the middle, and serve with stone ground whole wheat crackers.

Serves 2 for a light lunch or 4-6 for appetizers.

Wine pairing: Tapiz Torront├ęs

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