MAKES 1 1⁄2 CUPS
Forget trendy beans—it doesn't take much to make America's own tried-and-true lima beans into something special. Puréed and spread on toasted country bread, they make a fine Mediterranean-ish appetizer. If you must be on the cutting culinary edge, simply substitute cooked fresh red lentils or fava, navy, or cannellini beans for the limas.
2 cups fresh shelled or frozen baby lima beans
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Country-style bread, toasted and cut into small
squares or triangles
1. Combine lima beans, garlic, 1⁄2 cup water and a generous pinch of salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until beans are very soft, about 15 minutes.
2. Coarsely purée beans and garlic in a food processor. Transfer to a small bowl and gradually beat in olive oil. Remove zest from lemon with a zester or vegetable peeler, then finely julienne zest and set aside. Halve lemon and add lemon juice to purée to taste, then season with salt and pepper. Serve in a small bowl with toasted bread on the side, or top toast with lima mash, drizzle with a little olive oil, and garnish with lemon zest.