Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bean and Tuna Dip, even fish haters will like.

I hate fish! I come from an island family on one side. I come from a hunting and fishing family on the other side that lived along the St. John river and Belleisle Bay in Canada. I grew up in Maine(granted it was far inland). But I hate fish! I try to train myself into eating it now and then, but it does not last long. I want to move to Italy when I retire. How will I survive in a culture so heavily into fish?
Pasta with octopus or cuttlefish ink....Oh My God!
I have found that I can eat scallops, shrimp and lobster, but I really only crave the related sauces. Tuna....OK I can eat it, as I can eat almost anything, but I would not choose it.
So, here is tuna I can eat.
I serve this at a party or a holiday dinner. I don't tell anyone what it is till they have eaten it. Never have an objection.
Serve it with grilled bread, crackers, crudites....or swirl a bit into a soup, a salad or toss with pasta.

By all means, do this recipe without the tuna. It would be very Tuscan that way, served warm or cold with a drizzle of oil and chunks of bread.

Cannelini Bean Dip

Drain and RINSE one can of White Cannelini beans.
Mince four cloves of garlic or mash them on the cutting board or with salt.
Drain one can of tuna...your choice.

Put everything into a food processor or a mortar and pestle. Process or grind to a paste. Add olive oil till a nice creamy mousse is achieved. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Optional: Lemon zest and lemon juice, Anchovies, Pecorino Romano,Parmesan finely grated or chopped fresh parsley.

Pour into a shallow brightly colored bowl or plate. Chop scallions,roasted or fresh red and green peppers, seeded and drained tomatoes, black and green olives. This would be wonderful with endive scoops, asparagus spears, broccoli or cauliflower(blanched). Arrange the chopped vegetables, a few capers etc. in a decorative pattern around the edge of the pool of dip in a sort of wreath. The dip is rather colorless so you need some kind of color to help the appearance. Drizzle a bit of the very best olive oil you can afford over the top.

Take a whole, cleaned head of Cauliflower, spread the dip on the whole thing like frosting a cake. Cover tightly or wrap in foil and bake at a very low temperature for an hour of so(But just till tender) and sprinkle with minced roasted red peppers for color. Put the whole head into a serving bowl and use a large spoon to cut it apart at the table with plenty of fresh bread.

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