Do you Food 52? If you don’t, you’re missing out on some of the best recipes around. I wrote about it a while back and I’m still as excited about it now as I was then. What I love about the site is that the recipes come from home cooks. Every week or so they holds a contest for a specific type of recipe (your best dessert with citrus or your best vegetable soup…). Two entries are selected as finalists and then the rest of us vote on our favorite. At the end of the year a cookbook is complied with the winners. What a concept!
When I began planning our recent dinner party I remembered something about a dip with roasted fennel. I turned to Food 52 and there it was-the winner for your best dip recipe. I’m a huge fan of roasted fennel and just sensed that combined with cannellini beans, parmigiano-reggiano and fresh rosemary, this dip would be a hit. You can make it ahead of time, refrigerate it and let come to room temperature before baking.
Roasted Fennel and Cannellini Bean Dip
For the Fennel
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the fennel and garlic cloves with the olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast 30 to 40 minutes, turning twice during baking. Remove from oven and let cool. Squeeze garlic out of skin.
For the Cannellini Bean Puree
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2-1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
In a small frying pan heat 1/2 cup olive oil (I used about 1/3 cup) over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook until lightly golden (do not let garlic burn), add rosemary and the beans and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Combine the bean mixture, fennel & garlic, lemon juice and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil (I used a few good glugs) and all but 3 tablespoons of the cheese. Puree until smooth. Raise the oven to 450 degrees. Transfer the puree to a small baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Add more if you like! Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Serve with crostini.