First bites are so important in food, and I think really great first bites are rare, the kind that makes you actually stop chewing if only to savor the bite on your tongue for just one more moment. It’s that first bite that can set the tone of the meal, can make or break it if it’s only slightly off, and if it’s really, really good, it’ll be a bite you’ll remember for years to come. I have been lucky to have experienced a few of these meal making bites, and happened to recall one from over ten years ago only a few days ago.I was fifteen when I had my first bite of white bean dip, and I will never forget it. Sure, I had white beans before, but none that ever made me stop to think “Oh, so THIS is what a white bean tastes like.” Thick, creamy, salty, garlic-y, light, and slightly sweet. It was simple, but good food doesn’t always have to be complicated or over the top, and this bite was beautiful as it was. And funny enough though, it is the only thing I remember from what I’m sure was an absolutely delicious meal, but I hadn’t thought about this bite until I came across a recipe for Mashed White Bean (which I then adapted my recipe from) on Pinterest, and then I remembered, and then I craved.
I made a few changes to the recipe I came across because the garlic in the recipe wasn’t going to be enough, let alone be strong enough, so I decided to cook my garlic before I mixed it in. And while I did follow the rest of the recipe (mostly) as it was, I made another batch using great northern beans because I know they are softer and slightly smoother. The toppings are definitely things I plan to play with, although this grouping was just absolutely delicious, so I didn’t feel inclined to change anything about it when I was making it, though I may leave off the red pepper flakes next time.
I also want to note that while baguette would be the best bread to use, I didn’t have any on hand when I made it, and the grocery store I had chosen to go has a really poor bakery station, so there wasn’t any baguette available…so I went with what was available to me, and frankly, I think any bread with this dip would be utterly scrumptious! I also added more olive oil when initially blending everything together with the cannellini beans because of their tougher texture (really they are a bean that should be cooked before they are mashed, even coming out of a can, which is why I think the great northern bean would be more appropriate here). By no means any less delicious, but I’m definitely more aware of what I’m using to try (emphasis on try) to recreate what I had ten years ago. I know it will never be the same—it’s too hard to remake the same feelings you have from a memory because it’s too hard to recreate the same atmosphere and circumstance that those initial memories were born in—it still tasted just as good to remember such a wonder experience and to have this dip again after so long in my adult kitchen with my adorable dog licking my toes, hoping for a bite, and to me, that’s more delicious that reliving any memory exactly the same. Who wants to remember the same thing exactly the same way anyway? Not me!
May you live for the newness in everyday, but never forget the wonderful experiences of days past. — Cooking Maggie
Quick White Bean Dip
Adapted from Mashed White Bean Bruschetta by Sweet Paul recipe
- 1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2-4 tablespoons olive oil, more for topping
- 12 slices of preferred bread, toasted to taste
- fresh tyme
- a little chili flakes (if you’d like)
- Cook garlic in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, just to get a little color on them, about 1 minute.
- Add garlic, salt, and great northern beans to food processor (or blender), add 1 tablespoon of olive oil at a time (add more if needed) till desired consistency is reached.
- Spoon dip into a bowl, and top with fresh thyme leaves, chili flakes, and a little more olive oil (if wanted). Or, just eat plain!