Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Small Bites Week: Blue Cheese, Apricot, and Sage Zucchini Twirls

100326_zucchini twirls_5

I wanted to find a way to enjoy creamy white beans as finger food without slathering them on bread or blending it into a dip. These little skewered twirls do the job perfectly. Blue cheese can have a strong bite, but it smooths out nicely when blended with the beans. Sage, always a good partner to white beans, adds an earthy layer, and dried apricots bring a touch of sweetness.

Blue Cheese, Apricot, and Sage Zucchini Twirls

The bean and cheese filling can be made well ahead of time, but the twirls are best assembled soon before serving. Don't skip salting the zucchini, or you'll end up with a soggy, limp mess. Makes about 16 twirls.

1 1/2 cups cooked white beans, such as cannellini or navy
3 oz. blue cheese
freshly ground pepper
2 zucchini
14 sage leaves
16 dried Turkish apricots

In a medium bowl, mash beans and blend thoroughly with blue cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Slice zucchini lengthwise into long, thin strips, about 1/8 inch thick. A mandoline is great tool for this, or you could try using a vegetable peeler. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the zucchini strips and lay them out on a clean kitchen towel or paper towel for 15 minutes. While the zucchini rests, cut the sage and apricots into long, thin strips.

Dry the zucchini with a fresh towel and begin assembling the appetizers. At one of the each strip, lay out a few strips of sage and apricot and top with a teaspoon of the bean and cheese blend. Roll up the zucchini strip, gently but firmly, and secure with a toothpick.

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