The simplicity of this recipe allows the spruce tip oil to shine.
1 cup (250 mL) dried white beans
1/4 cup (60 mL) bean cooking liquid
1 medium clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 tbsp. (30 mL) spruce tip oil
2 tbsp. (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL) dried chili flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Additional spruce tip oil for garnish
Sort the dried beans, checking for stones. Rinse the beans and soak them overnight in cold water.
The next day, drain the beans, cover them with plenty of fresh, cold water and bring to a gentle boil. Skim off the scum that rises to the surface at the first boil, turn to low and simmer until the beans are thoroughly soft; this could take from 1 to 2 hours, depending on the beans.
Drain the cooked beans, reserving the liquid. (Save any extra beans and liquid for soup.)
Put 1 ½ cups (375 mL) of cooked, cooled beans in a blender or food processor with the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the container from time to time. If the mixture is too thick, loosen it with a bit of cooking water.
Taste, and adjust for seasoning. Garnish with a drizzle of spruce tip oil just before serving. * We used Ace Bakery Artisan Crisps as accompaniment.
Yield: About 2 cups.
Food Safety Note: Infused Oils
The important thing to be aware of when infusing oils is the danger of botulism. The bacterium Clostridium botulinum, commonly present in soil and dust, can multiply under moist, anaerobic, low-acid conditions, producing a deadly toxin as a by-product. Any water clinging to the material you are putting into oil provides an ideal breeding ground. It’s important to store oil infused with fresh herbs in the refrigerator and consume it within a week to 10 days. Dried herbs pose less of a safety risk, since the moisture has evaporated, but it’s still important to err on the side of caution.