This recipe is one of those food discoveries that, when revealed, makes you want to weep with joy. A few blocks from our house is a great little neighborhood restaurant by the name of 3 Doors Down. It’s a lovely place, featuring fantastic seasonal fare (a concept they’ve long embraced, far before it became a national trend), great wines, and an atmosphere that caters to both a nice family meal or a special evening out with friends.
That last point is a fairly spectacular achievement, and I give nothing but glowing reviews to 3 Doors Down for being so capable of meeting such disparate needs. On more than one occasion I have spotted a variety of simultaneous diners at 3 Doors Down that included a couple with a new baby snoozing away in an infant carseat, a table of six adults ordering wine two bottles at a time, several tables of dressed-up, cozy couples, and a party of three that included two adults and one bowtie-wearing six year-old (full disclosure: one of those tables was my household).
Every meal at 3 Doors Down is started with a dish of this superb white bean spread, accompanied by a plate of crusty bread. To illustrate its allure, picture this: when the aforementioned bowtie-wearing child was presented with a petite dish of the tasty spread, a single taste was all it took to hook him, and before long he began simply spooning the deliciousness into his mouth, forgoing the bread entirely. While all the food at 3 Doors Down is top notch, there cannot be enough fawning words dedicated to the creamy, flavorful white bean starter. So savory and rich, so wonderfully fresh and delicious, it is practically the definition of comfort found in a food. And the tear-inducing part? The recipe is available on their website, because that’s how great 3 Doors Down really is. Whip up a batch of it and you’ll see firsthand why my tears of joy were totally and completely justified.
Last Year: Cider Pressing and Two Kinds of Cupcakes
3 Doors Down Cafe’s White Bean and Fresh Herb Spread Recipe
I made this with freshly cooked beans, as called for in the recipe, but I see no reason why one couldn’t use canned cannellini beans if pressed for time.
2 cups dry cannellini beans
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 pinches red chile flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Cover beans with water by two inches. Soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Drain beans. Put beans into saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook beans until tender, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Drain.
In separate saucepan melt butter over medium low heat and add all remaining ingredients, except for the olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent about 7 to 10 minutes. Add cooked beans. Mash or puree with a food processor or stick blender until chunky-smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove to a dish or bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with crusty bread.
Makes 4 cups.