I have always loved the white bean dip from Williams Sonoma. It was always a go-to dip for when guests came over. One day I was making it and I had some leftover roasted fennel from the night before and I pureed it into the dip; it was amazing! The next time I broiled some Parmesan cheese on top to create a crunchy texture and it was perfect. You could serve this with crostini, pita chips, or tortilla chips. Basically anything works. - singing_baker —singing_baker
Test Kitchen Notes
Most dips involve dumping a bunch of ingredients in a bowl and mixing them until smooth. If the ingredients are good quality, you'll end up with something worth dipping a chip into, but if you're like singing_baker and you tweak some of those ingredients, you'll end up with an unforgettable hors d'oeuvre. First, you roast the fennel and garlic, to bring out their sugars and intensify their flavors. You simmer the white beans (we used canned) in a fragrant garlic-and-rosemary oil. You blend the beans and fennel with more oil so the mixture lightens like a good whipped salt cod and potato puree. And, finally, you spoon it all into a baking dish, cover it with cheese, and slide it into a hot oven so the top of the dip toasts, leaving you with a crisp veil over the pillowy dip. You won't even remember the work that went into it once you're showered with praise. - A&M —The Editors
12 as an appetizer
For Roasted Fennel
Large or 2 Small Fennel Bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
Olive Oil (up to 3 tablespoons)
Cloves Garlic still in papery shell
Salt and Pepper (more to taste)
For the Cannellini Bean puree
Garlic Cloves, Peeled and minced
2 1/2 cups
Cooked Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
First make the roasted fennel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the fennel and garlic cloves in the olive oil and spread on a sheet pan. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning twice during cooking. Take out and let cool. When cool squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins.
Start the cannellini bean puree. In a small frying pan heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook until lightly golden, add rosemary and cannellini beans and cook for one minute more. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Take it off the heat.
In a food processor combine the garlic bean mixture, fennel, roasted garlic, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 olive oil and all but 3 tablespoons of the parmigiano-reggiano. Puree until smooth.
Raise oven temp to 450 degrees. Transfer puree into a small baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Feel free to add more. If your dish is near full, place it on a baking sheet, in case it bubbles over in the oven. Bake until cheese is golden on top, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with crostini. Enjoy!