A delicious spread for crostini

Photo by Peter McIntsoh.
Photo by Peter McIntsoh.

White cannellini beans make a deliciously robust dip or spread.

Lemony and garlicky, this is simple to prepare and made even more stunning by the addition of truffle oil. Truffle oil is a bit of a treat. Available from some supermarkets, it costs approximately $11 for 50ml, so two teaspoonfuls, which is all you will need, is around $3.The truffle oil is not essential. Sometimes I leave it out and add 1-2 Tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves.

This dip is chunky yet spreadable.

I usually serve it as a dip or spread it thickly on toasted crostini, but it is also very good served hot as a side dish with barbecued or roasted meat or chicken.


Creamy cannellini bean mash with truffle oil


2 Tbsp olive oil
4 plump cloves of garlic, crushed
2 400g cans cannellini beans, rinsed and well drained
zest of a lemon
5 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp truffle oil (or 1-2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme)
½ cup thick Greek yoghurt
2 Tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley


Place the oil and garlic in a medium sized saucepan and cook over very low heat for 3-4 minutes. Do not allow to brown.

Add the cannellini beans, lemon zest and juice. Raise the heat and stirring constantly, bring to the boil. Cover tightly with lid, reduce heat to very low and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes. This gives the lemon and garlic time to permeate through the beans.

Mash with a potato masher, cover with lid and let sit until cool.

Add either the thyme leaves or truffle oil (but not both) and stir through.

Add half a cup thick Greek yoghurt and mix well.

If using the truffle oil, stir in the parsley and tip the mixture into an attractive serving dish. Cover and chill.

Makes a generous 2½ cups.


Chilli and garlic crostini


1 ciabatta or French stick
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
½ tsp each mild chilli powder and sweet smoked paprika


Making your own crostini is quick and easy. Cut day-old French bread or ciabatta into .5cm-thick slices. Spray or brush lightly (one side only) with olive oil or a flavoured oil; rosemary, chilli or garlic. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds and bake in an oven preheated to 180degC for 7-10 minutes until lightly golden.

Sometimes I jazz the crostini up a little, brushing with a spicy mixture before baking.

Preheat the oven to 180degC. Cut bread into .5cm-thick slices.

Cut any large slices of bread in half.

Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

Combine the oil, garlic, sweet chilli sauce, chilli powder and smoked paprika and mix well. Lightly brush each slice with the mixture, one side only, place on the baking tray and bake for 6-8 minutes until golden. Makes about 40 slices.

Store in an airtight container. Refresh in a warm oven if they become stale.


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