French White Bean Salad
If you know bumbleberry breeze, then by now you know I love food (hello, I put a good number of weekly hours into this blog, my labor of love). Not just any food, but wholesome food prepared in a way that’s both simple and flavorful. When it comes to the holidays, I’ve been down the road of complicated dishes and time-consuming desserts. But this year I don’t want to consume time. I want to take that time and use it to be with our family and friends. If I’m in a cooking marathon for days before, by the time we return from temple, I won’t be ready to host a big meal. I’ll be ready for my pillow.
Here are contenders for this year. All highlighted dishes are linked directly to their recipes. Click on them and you will be miraculously connected with them.Disclaimer: All choices below are subject to change, except for the mandelbread & honey cake, which are now happily sitting in the freezer. First Course: Apples & Honey Doctored Gefilte Fish Egg Salad Green Salad with Mixed Fresh & Dried Fruit Second Course: Savory Baked Chicken Balls Flavors of the Middle East Chicken Spinach-Beef Patties (coming soon in a holiday post for you) French Bean Salad Broccoli-Mushroom Kugel Roasted Butternut Squash Dessert: Classic Mandelbread Chocolate Chip Mandelbread Raspberry-Almond Squares (coming soon… once I figure it out, that is) Honey Cake with Walnuts and Golden Raisins
So let’s look at the French bean salad. I bought Bob’s Red Mill lovely Flageolet beans.
Flageolet beans are small bush-type beans that are very popular in French country cooking. The color of the beans range from pale green to creamy white.
They had a bit of chew to them, which I liked. My mom wanted them a bit more tender. I think I needed to soak them overnight in a pot instead of in my 4-cup measuring cup to give them more room. That probably would have done the trick.
Flageolets are excellent in salads and soups. My mom remembers that my dad sometimes asked her to add some beans when she would make chicken soup. She must have thought about our conversation because a few days later, she called me up and very seriously stated, “You know, I think the beans I used had little dark spots in the center.” She was probably talking about black-eyed peas which would be an excellent choice for this salad as well.
I wanted the beans to be the star in this salad. So I looked around in the kitchen for a few veggies who might like supporting roles. This lonesome tomato was crying, “I’m getting wrinkly. Please use me!” So I did.
Make a dressing and add fresh herbs. Mint is an excellent choice.
Because this salad is excellent cold or room temperature, it’s a terrific addition to your holiday table.
French White Bean Salad
Ingredients:2 c. Flageolet beans (or any other small bean, like black-eyed peas) 1 large stalk celery, sliced 1 large firm tomato, diced 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 2 T. fresh herbs – parsley, chives, mint, thyme zest of 1 lemon 1/4 c. olive oil juice of half a lemon 1 T. white wine vinegar 1 shallot, minced 2 t. Dijon or whole-grain mustard salt & pepper
bb notes: Experiment with different fresh herbs, such as tarragon and chives. I like to include fresh mint along with the others for the freshness it brings to the salad.
You may want to include a handful of torn baby spinach, once salad is assembled.
Sort and rinse through beans. Soak beans overnight in a pot. Water level should be a few inches higher than the beans. The next day, drain and rinse beans.
Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, mustard and salt & pepper. Let sit while beans are cooking.
Add water to fully cover beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about one hour, or until tender.
Rinse beans in cold water.
Place beans in salad bowl. Add celery, tomato and red onion to the beans.
Re-stir dressing. Pour half the dressing over the salad. Toss and add the remainder to the salad, to your taste.
Add fresh herbs and toss.
Chill a few hours or overnight.