I remember my mother bringing home three bean salad from the grocery growing up. At the time it seemed a curious even unappealing dish, but it stuck in my mind into adulthood. When the heat of summer takes hold, what could be better or easier than a cold vegetable snack ready to eat straight from the fridge. With so many exciting varieties of beans available these days, skip the grocery store and check out what your local farmer is growing or drying and start from there.
1.5 cups dried heirloom beans of two varieties (or 30 oz. canned kidney and cannellini beans)
2 cups seasonal fresh beans, such as pole beans or wax beans
¾ cup quality extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup sherry or apple cider vinegar
½ preserved lemon
2 garlic cloves
4 sprigs thyme
½ bunch of parsley
3 spring onions
If using dried beans, soak overnight.
Prepare the dressing by finely mincing your preserved lemon, yielding about 1 Tbsp of chopped rind. Grate the garlic cloves and add to a jar with the preserved lemon. Add the thyme sprigs, 1 tsp salt, a couple sprigs of parsley, vinegar and olive oil. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, drain the beans and remove the herb sprigs from the vinaigrette and set aside. Cook the soaked beans as you like, adding the used herb sprigs to the pot for good measure. Bring a pot of salted water to boil to blanch your fresh beans to al dente.
While still warm, toss together all cooked beans with the vinaigrette and let cool in the fridge. To serve, finely chop the remaining parsley and spring onions and toss them together with the bean salad. Salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe by Erin Wilson
Photographed by Paige French