Heirloom and Shell Bean Salad
LET THE FARMERS’ MARKET BE YOUR GUIDE. Select a variety of fresh beans and peas to throw into this salad (as well as into resealable bags to freeze for winter months). You can also use canned or dried beans. I love to order dried heirloom offerings like Moros and Christmas Limas from Rancho Gordo of Napa, California. The only must for this recipe is to mix at least three varieties.
Serves 6 to 8
1/2 cup dried scarlet runner beans
1/2 cup dried black calypso beans
1/2 cup dried cranberry beans
1/2 cup dried Florida butter beans
1/2 pound French green, Roma, pole or wax beans (or a combination)
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
3 handfuls arugula
10 fresh mint leaves
10 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Rinse the dried beans and place in a large pot with enough water to cover by about 4 inches. Bring to a low boil and cook until just tender, but not mushy, about 1 hour. Drain, rinse and cool completely. Place in a large bowl.
2. Remove the stem end of the fresh beans. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and blanch each variety of fresh beans separately. To blanch, plae the beans in the water until they turn bright green or yellow, about 1 minute. Remove from the water with a strainer and immediately place into ice-cold water until completely cooled. Drain thoroughly and place in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to mix.
3. Add the red pepper, jalapeno, arugula, mint and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the vinaigrette over the beans, toss to mix and serve or refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.
IN THE KITCHEN: VARIATION
To make this salad with fresh beans and peas, replace the dried beans with fresh and blanched butter beans, field peas, green peas or any type of pole beans, small French green beans, wax beans or green beans. You will need about 1/2 pound of 3 to 5 different varieties.