On Sunday we were invited to a friend's house for drinks. I offered to bring a snack, but of course all the stores were closed, so I had to rely on pantry staples.
The situation called for bean dip. And if you're serving Baked White Bean and Rosemary Spread, of course you need focaccia bread to go with it. Fortunately I had some flour and rock salt, and the day I run out of olive oil is the day you can rest assured I'm resting in peace.
All I needed were a couple of hours for the dough to rise, and another hour to punch it down, let it rise again, and bake that baby. I used my time wisely. I cleaned the living room, washed a couple of loads of clothes, and prepared the bean spread.
My friend served a sparkling Spanish wine (non-Champagne) with a splash of cassis (blackcurrent liqueur), and we devoured the bread, slathered with bean dip, some olives, and stuffed cherry peppers. We had a divine time.
Spur of the moment invitations are so nice, don't you think?
Instructions below, for both the focaccia as well as the bean spread. Bon appetit.
(This recipe has been edited for clarity.)
Baked White Bean and Rosemary Spread
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 or 4 shallots, chopped finely (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried, crushed
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 cans (3-4 cups) white beans (cannellini, navy, or great northern), rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
fresh rosemary sprigs, optional
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Slowly cook and stir shallots, garlic and rosemary until soft. Add the tomatoes and remove from heat.
In a food processor, blend the beans, white wine vinegar, black pepper and salt until smooth. Stir in the onion/tomato mixture and transfer to a medium baking dish. Sprinkle paprika over the top.
Bake in a 350F/160C oven uncovered 25 minutes. Pour the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the top and continue baking another 5 minutes.
Serve warm with pita chips, crackers, or warm bread.
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups bread (strong) flour or unbleached (plain) flour
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons olive oil, in all
1 cup water
2 teaspoons rock salt
Pour the warm water in a large mixing bowl and add the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes until bubbles form along the surface. Add the flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Stir in 1 cup water, until stiff dough forms. Remove to a floured surface and knead for ten minutes or so, until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Place in a bowl and cover with a cloth, and leave to rise in a warm location, for about 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Knock down the dough and knead again for a few minutes, shaping into a flat square. Place in a square pan (approximately 9 inches wide) and let rise again (covered with a damp cloth) for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Punch holes in the dough with your fingers until the surface is dimpled. Brush with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with the rock salt.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Optional: Add crushed rosemary to the olive oil as you brush it over the top.
Note: Strong flour is the British term for bread flour with added gluten; plain flour is all-purpose flour.