Photo by Charles Luce
Provenance of Dish
I envisioned and created this recipe after reading Bill Buford’s article in The New Yorker about separately cooking ingredients for Ratatouille. It struck me that this would be a smart way to blend the subtle flavors of the fungi I was finding, with an autumnal, garlicky white bean paste. Blewits and maitake are the fungi I used in this version, but most others could work. The dip is excellent when smeared on sourdough bread but goes very well with a deep bed of arugula, too. It can also be very nice as a bed upon which a juicy, grilled pork chop awaits the diner’s knife.
One, 15 ounce can of white beans, such as Cannellini or Navy
6 medium-sized sage leaves
Needles from one, 6-inch section of fresh rosemary
One small garlic clove
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 1/2 cups diced autumn mushrooms, such as blewits and maitake
1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon sherry (or other wine) vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the sage leaves and rosemary needles in a mortar and pestle and pound until well-bruised. Add the garlic and pound to a pulp. Add 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/4 cup of the liquid from the beans, and whisk to a smooth blend. Set aside.
Meanwhile, place the remaining olive oil and the coconut oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When oils shimmer, add the mushrooms and sauté about 1 minute, until lightly browned. Reduce heat to very low and sweat the mushrooms - so that liquids in the skillet are barely bubbling - another 7 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove from heat, add the vinegar, and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place the spiced oil and bean liquid in a medium bowl. Add 1/4 cup of beans, discarding the remaining liquid. Mash or blend, with an immersion blender, the bean/spice/olive oil mix, to a fine paste. Add the remaining beans, stir, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the mushrooms to the beans, using a rubber spatula to squeegee all liquids into the mix. Stir well.
May be served warm or at room temperature. May be covered and refrigerated for up to one week.