This is undoubtedly the only recipe we have ever developed with a church potluck in mind.
Our favorite local brewer, Mark Jilg, the mad man (in a good way) behind Craftsman Brewing in Pasadena was hosting the annual fundraiser for his mom’s Unitarian Church congregation at his brewery. He said he needed something for the old people to bite on so they didn’t get shit-faced. Flattered and giddy that whatever we dreamed up would be taken between glugs of Heavenly Hefe, Poppyfields — maybe Triple White Sage if we were lucky — and the just completed O’Stout, which Mark brews with oyster shells.
In the end we settled on still-warm loaves of crusty ciabatta, citrus zest and coriander seed hummus, French feta marinated in olive oil and radishes dipped in truffle sea salt and butter. But perhaps the shining moment was thinking of the church ladies scooping up this thick vegan cream of white beans pureed with a base of sage-almond stuffing.
Next time we plan on whipping it up with wild white sage from the San Gabriel foothills, the way Mark does for his seasonal white sage release. Besides cleaning a room of evil spirits and reducing swelling, turns out the native plant tastes bad-ass. For the meantime, green’ll work just fine.
8 cloves garlic
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup almonds
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
4 cans (15 oz) cannellini beans
1 Tbs. white balsamic
1 tsp. sumac
Fresh black pepper and salt to taste
6-8 sage leaves for garnish
1 cup Grapeseed oil for frying
1. Start by making garlic confit: Peel all the garlic and place the cloves in a small saucepot with 1 cup of the olive oil (submerging them). Place on medium heat. Let the oil heat to a rolling sizzle and then remove and rest it. Set aside and it will finish cooking as it cools.
2. Next prepare the “stuffing.” Roughly crush the almonds with a chef’s knife or a mallet. Place a large sauté pan on high heat and add a touch of olive oil. Then add the almonds and chopped onion. Turn down to medium.
3. Toss or stir the mixture every minute and toast for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly chop the sage leaves and toss in. Continue toasting for another 3 minutes, or until almonds are mostly toasted. Set aside.
4. Empty your beans into a strainer and thoroughly rinse them.
5. Most likely you’ll need to blend the mixture in two batches, divvy up half the beans and add to a food processor. Toss in half the stuffing mixture, season with half the sumac and half the balsamic, as well as salt and pepper to taste.
6. Puree vigorously adding a slow drizzle of the garlic confit and olive oil. Only use half. Now keep blending and add 1/4 cup water. The mixture should be thick and creamy but loose enough to thoroughly move about the blender. If it appears too gunky, add more water until its spreadable.
7. Use a spatula to empty puree into a large mixing bowl. Repeat the blending steps with second half of the ingredients. And combine both batches.
8. Finally, prepare a quick garnish of flash fried sage leaves by bringing a small saucepan of Grapeseed oil up to high heat for at least 5 minutes. Wash and thoroughly pat dry the sage leaves. Prepare a plate with a paper towel and a slotted spoon. Drop leaves into hot oil and wait just 10 seconds before fishing them out. Rest to dry.
9. Add leaves in pretty arrangement with another splash of olive oil. Serve bean puree as a dip with torn chunks of fresh baked ciabatta. Or serve as composed bruschetta plate or even as a dip with crackers.
Beverage: Craftsman’s Triple White Sage
Soundtrack: Animal Collective’s “For Reverend Green”