Serves: 4 - Time:
While the sweet, soft confit garlic goes a long way to making this dish so delicious, the most important ingredient is the butter bean. I cannot stress enough how important it is to buy the El Navarrico brand. Yes, they are expensive compared with tinned varieties but they are the Bentley of the bean world. I have yet to find a tinned brand that is any good but would be delighted to be corrected on this point. The difference is especially marked with the butter beans. Tinned ones are dry, pappy and tasteless while the El Navarrico beans are soft and buttery-as their name implies. All of the El Navarrico pulses are utterly delicious and I am never without some jars in the larder. It’s such a simple dish but one of my favourite things to eat-sometimes on its own or with some bitter salad leaves; sometimes as a side dish to accompany slow-roasted lamb.
- 2 large garlic heads
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 350ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 500g jar El Navarrico (Judion) butter beans
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Separate out the garlic cloves and peel them. Place in a small saucepan along with the chilli and rosemary. Pour over the olive oil.
- Place the saucepan on the smallest ring, hob/ring and turn the heat to its lowest setting. Cook the garlic for about 40-45 minutes from cold removing the rosemary after 20 minutes. The cloves should be soft and very light golden in colour. Leave to cool a little –or do this a few days in advance and store in the fridge.
- Drain the butter beans and place in a saucepan with the lemon juice. Season well with salt and ground black pepper. Spoon over about 6 tablespoons of the garlic oil and heat through gently. Add about 10-12 confit garlic cloves and some of the chilli. Heat through for a couple of minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve at room temperature.