This is a very basic way of cooking virtually any bean, but it's especially good for all varieties of white beans and chickpeas. The aromatics gently infuse the beans and their broth with their flavors, yet leave them open to further embellishments. Here, they are simply dressed with good extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and fresh-ground pepper.
Soak the beans: Place dried beans in a medium bowl. Pour boiling water over beans; let soak for 1 hour. Drain beans and place in a medium saucepan with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaves, kombu, parsley, onion, thyme and salt. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 1½ hours.
Beans will be done when they're tender, not mushy. Pour through a strainer, then place beans in a serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.