Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bean Salad with Olives and Tarragon

Where, oh where has my little blog gone? I had so many things I was going to post about in July, and here I am with just one day left and so little to show for my kitchen efforts. I had at least one more salad I wanted to try, and at least three flavors of ice cream I was going to make, and there’s a zucchini cake I need to tell you about…And what about all those fresh summer vegetables out there? Truth be told, with the exception of corn on the cob, which I’ve been boiling, I’ve been eating those vegetables raw. Delicious, but…

Anyway, I did get around to making a delicious salad of white beans tossed with olives and flavored with fresh tarragon. I soaked and cooked a big batch of dried white beans, pulled some out for this salad, and froze the rest (to make it again!), but you could use rinsed and drained canned beans. I also found some rather delicious, meaty Italian green olives, whose name I forget, but use whatever you like. The anise flavor of the tarragon is a pleasant surprise with the creamy beans and slightly briny olives. That deliciousness (along with the success of this salad) leads me to believe that some finely minced fennel bulb, which also has an anise-like taste, would be a good addition or perhaps even a replacement for the celery.

This salad is quick to put together, as a salad should be, and lasts pretty well in the refrigerator, so you might be able to make a double batch that could help you though some busy times. You know, if, like me, your summer doesn’t get much of a chance to get too laid back.

White Bean Salad with Green Olives and Tarragon
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone  (the older edition) by Deborah Madison

This salad is best served at room temperature. If you make it ahead or serve leftovers, take the salad out of the refrigerator for a while to let it warm up a little.

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 small garlic clove
½ teaspoon coarse salt
3 cups cooked white beans, or canned beans, drained and rinsed (about 2 16-ounce cans)
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup pitted and chopped green olives
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Pour the vinegar into a small bowl. Finely mince the garlic clove. Sprinkle the salt on the minced garlic and press and scrape it with the knife to create a garlic-salt paste as described in this post. Scrape up all of the garlic-salt paste and mix it with the vinegar. Let stand while preparing the remaining ingredients.

2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the beans, onion, celery, olives and tarragon.

3. Add the olive oil and pepper to the vinegar mixture. Whisk well to combine completely. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and toss well to coat. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired. Best served at room temperature.

Makes about 6 servings.

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