If you ever need a quick snack for an unexpected guest, an easy appetizer for your next get-together, or just something to munch while you binge on Netflix, I have a wonderful suggestion.  A far cry from the burnt-umber-colored spackle that comes in a pop-top can from the grocery store, this bean dip is creamy, garlicy, and bright with the earthy tang of goat cheese.  It whips up in about 10 minutes and calls for only a few simple ingredients.  Served with some homemade crostini (garlicy toast), it’s the perfect, deliciously humble dish to add to your recipe box.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Dip:

1 can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed

4 oz. crumbled goat cheese

Zest of one lemon

2 T. lemon juice

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

2 T. water

1 T. fresh thyme leaves

1 clove garlic, minced

For the Crostini:

Baguette cut into 1/2 inch slices on the bias

2-3 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 large clove garlic, peeled

First, heat the oven to 400 and arrange your bread slices in an even layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden, turning at 5 minute intervals.   While the toast is still hot, rub each piece with the raw, peeled garlic.  This seems like a small step, but it really imparts a lot of garlic flavor.

While the bread is toasting, process all of the dip ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides once or twice as you go.  I haven’t tried it, but I assume a potato masher or mortar and pestle would also work.  If going this route, be sure to finely mince the garlic and thyme before adding them to the mix.  The result will likely be less creamy, but just as tasty.

You can serve immediately, but I like to let it chill for 20-30 minutes, just to let the flavors meld.  Just before serving, drizzle the crostini with a bit of olive oil and to the same to the dip.  Spread it on or dip your heart out.

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