Lemon-Garlic Smashed White Beans with Feta

by Food Hound on January 30, 2011

in Sides

I was under the impression I was a hipster. I’m hip, right? But then I had to actually look up the term “hipster,” and I realized that, alone, makes me not a hipster.
Turns out, a hipster is someone who is young (check), typically urban (it’s a stretch… but I’ll give myself a check), and rejects mainstream culture, fashion, and music.
I like Hawaii 5-0, mini-skirts, and Ke$ha, so I guess I’m not a hipster. *sigh*
But this totally does not mean I can’t hang out with other hipsters and assimilate into their sub-culture once in a while! Especially when it involves something as chic as tasting olive oil. Wine tasting is awesome, but I guess it’s too passe. Now, one talks about the fruitiness, fullness, and bouquet of artisan olive oil rather than pinot noir. I can totally get behind this trend.
Thus, my neighbors and I took our hipster-for-the-night selves to a new bar in Knoxville, The Public House, for an olive oil tasting. With its concrete bar, minimalist decor, bare-but-funky essentials bar nibbles, and dread-sporting bartenders, it’s the new hipster place to hang out. And the perfect place to host an olive oil tasting.

One bonus reason for going is that two of the three featured olive oils were from my favorite Knoxville import company, Avanti Savoia. To the left is a photo of the tasting platter, which was the special offering of the evening. The one in the middle is Avanti’s Cassini Gran Cru Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which was my favorite. Gorgeous taste, very fruity. It’s also most people’s favorite per the owner, so I guess that seals my fate as a non-hipster. The one on the far right is their Marcinase Fruttato Intenso Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which will put some hair on your chest for sure. Very pungent, very peppery, very delicious! I learned that the color of olive oil does not correlate to taste– I was shocked! My whole olive oil world came crashing down around me! These are both so light in color, but have such a deep flavor. I washed everything down with a nice tempranillo wine, which was one of the recommended pairings. Such a lovely evening, and I will totally go back with the Booze Hound and try out their little bar bites. Maybe I’ll wear white denim and a banana clip– neither of which are popular, and would catapult me to hipster status for sure.
Now, I love olive oil as much as the next hound, but I need mass quantities for my everyday kitchen adventures. I need the 3-litre jug o’ oil because it goes in everything. And getting either of the oils above in mass quantity would not exactly be cost-effective. Besides, the intense, fruity flavors of these babies would be lost in a soup, stew, or saute dish. They need to be used in a dish that truly highlights their flavors, as a finisher, or as a simple appetizer with bread and olives, as above.
In honor of these two fabulous olive oils, I made one of my favorite recipes involving olive oil.  It comes courtesy of one of my favorite people,

Nigella Lawson. She takes 
canned beans, warms them in copious amounts of lemon-and-garlic-infused oil, then smashes them. It’s really just that simple, and it’s tres tres fabulous. I added the feta on top, which makes them even richer and more fabulous. I usually serve these with salmon or steak, or you could insert them into any meal where you would usually serve mashed potatoes.

Hipster or not, treat yourself to a bottle of really good olive oil, and make this dish. And if you live in Knoxville, check out The Public House. When you see someone in white denim and a banana clip discussing character development in film noir, come on over and say hello- that will be hipster moi!


Lemon-Garlic Smashed White Beans with Feta

Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Serves 4
1/4 c olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
3 14-oz cans of Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
4 T feta cheese
Heat olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest over medium-low heat, until warm (the garlic will probably start to make a hissing sound– it’s not mad, it just means it’s perfect). Add the beans, and squish with a potato masher until they are roughly smashed, but not completely pureed. Season with salt to taste. You can either stir the feta into the pot, or top each serving with feta. Your choice– either way is fabulous.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary January 30, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I love the dressing and the way you used it. This sounds wonderful. I hope you had a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary


Velva January 31, 2011 at 12:27 am

Olive oil is my everyday oil too. I buy it in the 3-liter jug from Costco on a regular basis. A few years ago, I went to a olive oil tasting and bought several bottles of really good stuff, I use it so sparingly, it looks like decor on my counter (sigh).

btw, you and I make almost the same dressing. I use a bit of sugar instead of honey.

Both recipes look great. I like the smashed northern beans.



| January 31, 2011 at 1:55 am

Great post FH!!! Don’t worry, you’ll always be hip to me. Thanks for the shout-out!

Life’s too short to use great olive oil sparingly!



A SPICY PERSPECTIVE January 31, 2011 at 2:58 am

These dishes are TOTALLY hip! We have a couple younger friends that consider themselves hipsters…it’s like a full-time job. 🙂


sweetpeaskitchen.com January 31, 2011 at 3:02 am

Yummy! I love anything with feta! I will have to give that salad and these
smashed beans and feta a try, it sounds perfect. 🙂


Denae January 31, 2011 at 5:22 am

You are def hip because you made it to the Knox Public House before I did!! Thanks for the review of the olive oil tasting. I had my eye on that event. My date (friend) was sick tho bummer. Also, I am a huge fan of Nigella and Great Northern beans so your recipe is now in my kitchen. Thank you!


beyondthepeel January 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for the post. We live in a very small community where nothing hip happens. Well it does, about ten years after the fact when it’s no longer hip. I love my ultra flavorful and expensive olive oil. We use it sparingly, but those mashed beans sound too lovely not to try!


Cathy January 31, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Homemade salad dressing is the only way to go! I make my vinaigrette just the way you do. I use honey too because I think it helps bind the oil and vinegar. Nigella’s smashed beans look delish.


Katerina January 31, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I make my own salad dressing all the time. I love yours as well. Feta since I am Greek is in my DNA. I love the combot of beans and feta cheese.


Rita January 31, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Just loved reading your interesting post; you have a way of writing that really makes me enjoy; so I think you are Hip or Hipster!!! Those beans ar so simple and a must try; thnk you.


Chris January 31, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Just to show you how totally unhip we are, I hadn’t even heard of this place yet. Then again, we stay away from Old City, wouldn’t want to run into our 22 y/o boy partying, ha ha.


From the Kitchen January 31, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I’m not a hipster! I am a lover of olive oils and wine (not necessarily in that order) and nothing is better than a freshly made salad dressing or a bottle of good wine–oh, and a loaf of bread! I haven’t been to Knoxville since we moved from Virginia. Great post. I like your writing very much.



Chow and Chatter January 31, 2011 at 8:53 pm

wow olive oil tasting very cool 🙂 I would say your hip


Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist February 1, 2011 at 2:59 am

An olive oil tasting?! How neat is that? I’ve not heard of this before, but it sounds like such FUN! Thank you for sharing your experience this week at Monday Mania! 🙂


Table Talk February 1, 2011 at 3:01 am

Anyone that gets excited about olive oil and white bean dip is a hipster in my book!


Design Wine and Dine February 1, 2011 at 10:47 pm

I love this post!!!! You are a SUCH a hipster and awesome for sharing these recipes! They are simple, unique and fun and I am going to try them both…

I could bathe in olive oil every day of my life


blackbookkitchendiaries February 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm

you are definately hip my friend! thanks for sharing this post:)


kellypea February 2, 2011 at 6:59 am

I’m all over this! I had my first ever olive tasting at the Foodbuzz conference year before last and since then have been in love with California Olive Ranch xxoo. I’d probably drink it if no one was looking. Yum on the white bean recipe. They’re a fave, but haven’t tried them with feta. Sounds so good 🙂


Joanne February 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm

I like Kesha also. And by like…I kind of mean love. Sigh. There goes my hipster status.

That’s alright. So long as I someday get to go to an olive oil tasting. Then all will be alright in the world. That white bean dish sounds amazing!


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