EDISON, NJ - Are you ready for the Super Bowl?  Me too!  Are you going to a party or throwing one to celebrate the big game?  If you are or if you are just hanging out and watching it at home by yourself or with your family, chances are you will be looking for something good to snack on during the game.  This dip is easy, tasty, and very healthy. 

Black garlic can be found at specialty and health food stores and at most Asian markets.  It can also be easily found on-line.  So, what is black garlic?  It’s pretty straight forward in that it is simply garlic that has been roasted and then fermented for a period of time (usually around a month or so).  During the fermentation process the garlic is kept at specific temperature and humidity levels and it’s through this process that the garlic literally turns black and changes in flavor from raw garlic to something that is slightly savory and slightly sweet with notes of molasses with just a hint of the original garlic flavor.  Its flavor is quite interesting and, in my opinion, quite good.  Due to the fermentation process, the garlic takes on specific health and wellness qualities beyond the normal benefits garlic provides (which are numerous).

The chili flakes add touch of heat and the feta just adds a bit of texture and color.  You can certainly use any crumbly cheese you prefer or have on hand.  Also cilantro or chives would work well instead of or in addition to the parsley.  Finally, if you have time, there’s no substitute for making beans from scratch using dried black beans.  If you go this route, it will likely take about 90 minutes or so.  Otherwise this dish takes about ten minutes to pull together.

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Serve this dip with homemade pita chips, tortilla chips, bread, vegetables or whatever you’d like.  After the game, if you have leftovers, use it as a spread on a sandwich or a tortilla wrap.  Enjoy the game!

Ingredients:

2 Cans of organic black beans, drained and rinsed

1 Head of black garlic

4 Tablespoons olive oil (or any neutral tasting oil such as grapeseed oil) plus more as needed

½ Teaspoon red pepper flakes

2-3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2-3 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Kosher salt

A few whole Italian parsley leaves, torn roughly

Instructions:

·         Drain and rinse the black beans and place in a food processor.

·         Remove the papery skin from the black garlic cloves and place all in the food processor.  Add the red pepper flakes and a dash of salt.

·         Turn the processor on and allow the beans and garlic to grind to a very thick paste.  Slowly drizzle in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.  Add the lemon juice and pulse until incorporated.

·         Taste the dip and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt and possibly more red pepper flakes to suit your palate. 

·         Scoop the dip out and place in bowl.  Add the feta cheese over the top and then add a few of the roughly torn parsley leaves over the entire thing. 

Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  If waiting to serve, add the cheese at the last minute before serving and just store the bean mixture.  Can be made a day or two ahead.  If refrigerated, take the dip out around an hour prior to serving it to allow it to come to room temperature.

Craig Thiebaud is a Diplomat of Classic Culinary Arts at the International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute) located in SOHO in New York City. After extensive training in the Art of French cooking and professional food preparation in general, he brings his knowledge of food and passion for cooking to us by sharing culinary techniques and creating recipes that mainly use local, seasonal ingredients and can be easily recreated in the home kitchen. Good, wholesome meals for the family can be created quickly with planning, using the best techniques with the best ingredients that are both affordable and available. Let's get back into the kitchen together!