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Butter bean purée with dukkah

Dips and dressings Picnic
Serves 8

There are two beautiful recipes here. You could just make the butter bean purée and keep it in the fridge for up to a week – it's a handy sandwich spread. Or you could also prepare just the dukkah, an Egyptian condiment that will easily keep for a month in an airtight container and can be used to sprinkle over salads, rice and almost anything else. We would make both, though: they're best when put together. The spice and crunch of the dukkah give the purée heaps of character.


250g dried butter beans, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water with ½ tbsp bicarbonate of soda
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2½ tbsp lemon juice
120ml olive oil 
fine sea salt and black pepper
10g parsley, roughly chopped
2 free-range eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
70g hazelnuts, with their skins
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp dry green peppercorns (or white, as an alternative)
3 tbsp coriander seeds
1½ tbsp sesame seeds
½ tsp nigella seeds
½ tsp flaky sea salt
1 tsp paprika


  1. Heat the oven to 140C/285F/gas mark 1. Drain the soaked beans and put them in a large saucepan. Cover with lots of fresh water, bring to a boil, then simmer gently for 45 minutes and up to an hour and a half, until completely soft. Drain, retaining the cooking water. While they are still hot, put the beans in the bowl of a food processor and add the garlic, lemon juice, 90ml of the olive oil, 80ml of the cooking water, a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Blitz for a couple of minutes to a very smooth purée, transfer to a bowl, cover the surface with clingfilm and leave to cool down.

  2. While the beans are cooking, make the dukkah. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Add the sunflower seeds to the tray halfway through, keeping them separate from the nuts. Remove from the oven and leave to cool while you toast the seeds.

  3. Put a cast-iron pan on medium heat and leave for five minutes to heat up well. Spread the fennel seeds inside and dry-roast them for 30 seconds. Add the cumin seeds and cook for another 30 seconds, or until they start to pop, then tip both into a little bowl. With the pan back on the heat, roast the peppercorns until they start to pop, about 30 seconds, then transfer to a separate bowl. Cook the coriander seeds for up to a minute, until they start to pop, and tip into a third bowl. Reduce the heat to low and cook the sesame and nigella seeds together, stirring occasionally, until the sesame turns light brown, then remove from the pan.

  4. Rub the hazelnuts between the palms of your hands to discard some of the skin. Use a pestle and mortar to chop them coarsely, then transfer to a medium bowl. Lightly crush the cumin and fennel seeds, and add to the hazelnuts. Repeat with the coriander seeds, followed by the peppercorns and then the sunflower seeds. Add these to the nut bowl, along with the sesame and nigella seeds, add salt and paprika, and mix well.

  5. To put the dish together, remove the clingfilm from the purée, stir well and add salt to taste. Spread out on a large platter and use the back of a spoon to create a wavy pattern. Drizzle over most of the remaining oil and sprinkle with about two tablespoons of dukkah. Scatter over the chopped parsley, then coarsely grate the eggs and sprinkle on top. Finish with a final drizzle of olive oil. Store the remaining dukkah in an airtight container.