Beans might be humble, but they’re also versatile, and that’s why we love them so much. These creamy white beans prove that without a lot of effort (and a little spicy herb oil), you can transform the staple ingredient into something downright elegant. The recipe comes from from Gaby Dalkin’s new cookbook, What’s Gaby Cooking: Take it Easy: Recipes for Zero Stress Deliciousness.
“A dish of creamy beans is a fall rite of passage in my book,” she writes. “It’s also the perfect blank canvas to flavor up with cold-weather staples like rosemary and garlic, plus a spicy herb oil. Besides the beans’ earthy deliciousness, the thing I love most about this dish is that it ages like a fine wine. You can make this a few days before your get-together and it will only get better. Add crusty bread and act like it took all day.”
You don’t have to tell us twice.
Recipe excerpt from the new book What’s Gaby Cooking: Take it Easy: Recipes for Zero Stress Deliciousness by Gaby Dalkin published by Abrams. Text copyright © 2022 by Gaby Dalkin. Photography by Matt Armendariz.
Five-Minute Bean Salad
For the Beans
12 ounces (340g) dried cannellini beans
1 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 Calabrian chile
5 ounces (140g) baby spinach
For the Spicy Herb Oil
½ cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 Calabrian chiles, thinly sliced, or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Crusty bread, for serving
1. To make the beans: Rinse the beans, put them into a large pot and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary, bay leaf and Calabrian chile. Bring the beans to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a high simmer. Skim off any foam during the cooking and discard. Cook until very tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Stir in the spinach and season with salt.
2. To make the spicy herb oil: While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a small skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the rosemary, garlic, chiles and fennel seeds. Cook until the garlic is lightly golden and the herbs and fennel are fragrant. Set aside.
3. To assemble and serve: In a blender, puree about 2 cups (310g) of the bean and spinach mixture briefly until smooth. Stir the puree back into the beans. Transfer the beans to a serving bowl, pour the spicy herb oil over the top and serve with crusty bread.