Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuscan White Bean Fettunta and Grilled Bread

Some have said the quickest way to kill your passion is to make it your profession. Well, for the last 3 months, I have been working 20-40 hours a week in food, at a local upscale market. I've worked as a cheesemonger, deli slicer, pizza maker, sandwich maker, salad maker, and food prepper. In the name of exploring the career opportunities within my passion, I've taken a huge paycut, learned a lot about humility, and developed a terrible case of carpal tunnel (wrist braces 'n' all).

I have blogged zero times. I have let myself down, and let all 4 of you readers down. I sincerely apologize, and wish to end the guilt right now.

Fortunately, I have still been cooking up great and tasty things, and documenting them with lots of photos--I knew I would get my act together and come back to blog them eventually.

I understand that hummus is delicious, healthy, and universally liked, and so purchasing it seems like a good idea. But really, it's the easiest thing in the world to make. Why spend $4+ on Sabra when you can whip up your own, and know exactly what's in it? I'm willing to bet you have much tastier oil, and better  seasonings on-hand than the factory folks.  Plus its a great way to use fresh herbs that are about to go bad.

Hummus is easy, and fettunta is an Italian version, using white beans instead of chick peas.  White beans puree into the same texture, or in many cases, even a little creamier.

Here's a recipe I adapted from I Trulli in New York City. This is great for parties and can be modified easily.

Grilled bread
Crusty loaf--a thick ciabatta, a country loaf, or even a rustic baguette
1 clove garlic, peeled

Brush bread with olive oil, grill on a stovetop grill pan or outdoor grill till nicely marked and crunchy. Rub one side of each slice with garlic clove, as if grating it on a rasp grater.

1/4 c great-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 clove garlic
1 tb fresh lemon juice
1 15 oz can white beans, such as cannellini, drained
1 tb fresh rosemary needles (or 1/2 tb dried) and or other herbs
salt and pepper

Combine the above in a food processor bowl. Give it all a good whir, check consistency and add more lemon or olive oil to thin. Check for taste and add more rosemary or salt if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and finish with a thread of EVOO or a great truffle oil. I also add copious amounts of fresh black pepper.

There. That was easy. Now I just have to keep it up.


Nicole said...

I am one of your 4 readers! Hooray! And welcome back.

Nicole said...

Also I wanted to ask you, because I am so fascinated that you did this...are you happier?

flynn said...

This looks fabulous, D :) I can't wait to try your recipe. The photos are really good too, which is saying something; food photography is a pain!

Denise said...

Thanks guys! @Nicole--I'm not sure about being happier. Hard to say because there have been a TON of changes in my life, nothing else has been held constant for the sake of comparison. I will say that--in the moment at least--talking to a chef about slow smoking salmon for 2 days or explaining to a stranger why quinoa is awesome is a lot more fulfilling/"happy" than anything I did in an agency. To me, the benefit of making something real, with your hands, is vastly different than hammering away for weeks on one project. This is also the first time that I've had a job just for the sake of the learning opportunity, without really needing the paycheck to pay the rent. Which is good because the pay (and being treated as an hourly employee) is really humbling. I've been able to continue freelancing ad work, which is far more lucrative and uses other parts of my brain. Trying to figure out what my career path is...

@Flynn, thanks! 101 cook books is definitely an inspiration. My little brother got me a digital camera, I had been without one for almost a year.