2 cans white beans, or 1 1/2 cups dried beans (see note below)
1/2 cup bean liquid or water
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced
8-10 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
Garnishes: additional olive oil and fresh herbs
Put the beans and 1/2 cup of water or liquid from the can in a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Blend.
You’ll need to stop the machine a few times and scrape down the sides, but do purée it long enough for it to be completely smooth, which will take several minutes.
Taste, and adjust for seasoning, adding more salt or olive oil if desired. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon or so of the reserved bean liquid or olive oil.
Garnish with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of fresh chopped herbs. Serve with veggies, crackers, and bread or use on sandwiches.
Note: If using dried beans, the night before, rinse 1 1/2 cups beans and sort them, checking for stones or debris. Soak the beans overnight in enough cold water to cover them by 5 inches. The next day, rinse the beans, cover with water, and bring the beans to a simmer with a bay leaf and a little salt. Cook until completely tender, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the beans. Drain the beans, reserving some of the liquid. Pick out the bay leaf and let the beans cool until warm.