As promised in my last post, this is the salad recipe we served with the Aromatic Stuffed Suckling Pig for our friends’ baby shower a couple of weeks ago. I have since made this recipe on two other occasions, because we just can’t get enough of it. This dish received the ultimate compliment from our friend Lorna, who said, “This salad is what all salads should taste like.” Basically that means it isn’t the healthiest kid on the block. It’s like the fruit salads we grew up on, doused in whipped cream. As long as it said “salad”, though, we didn't feel guilty then and we won't now.
This dish really is quite refreshing. The beans, properly blanched, are cool and crisp, the vinaigrette has a great tang, and the pesto lends a richness to the dish. Topped with the crispy Boquerone beignet, it makes for a lot going on in your mouth at once, kind of like that party you barely remember from college.
SUMMER BEAN SALAD WITH LEMON PESTO AND WHITE ANCHOVY BEIGNETS
Adapted from Fresh From the Market, by Laurent Tourondel
2 cups freshly shelled cranberry beans
½ pound yellow wax beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
½ pound haricots verts, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups freshly shelled fava beans
12 sugar snap peas
2 cups basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon roughly chopped capers
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
12 Cerignola olives, pitted and thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
¾ cup cornstarch
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup chilled club soda
18 white anchovies, drained and patted dry
2 cups wild arugula
1. Cook the beans: Place the cranberry beans in a medium-size pot. Cover with 2 quarts of water, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to barely a simmer. Cook until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Pour the beans and their cooking liquid into a large bowl set over ice. Allow the beans to cool in the liquid. Once the liquid has cooled, strain the beans and place them in a large mixing bowl. Discard the liquid.
While the cranberry beans are cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the yellow wax beans to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove beans from the pot and place into a bowl of ice water.
Repeat this process with the haricots verts, fava beans and sugar snap peas, making sure to remove the skins from the fava beans once they have cooled in the ice water. When beans have cooled, remove them from the ice water and pat dry. Slice the sugar snap peas in half, and place all beans in the mixing bowl with the cranberry beans.
2. Make the lemon pesto: Place the basil and garlic in a blender. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream to form a thick paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Set aside with a piece of plastic wrap over the top to make sure the pesto does not begin to brown.
3. Make the vinaigrette: In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, capers, oregano, garlic and olives. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the beans and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
4. Make the beignets: Fill a deep heavy pot or deep fryer with 4 inches of vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 375 degrees Farenheit or until a small drop of the batter browns quickly in the oil. Combine the cornstarch, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the club soda until the mixture is well combined and the consistency of heavy cream. Working in batches, dip the anchovies into the batter to coat and fry them until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beignets from the fryer and drain them on a plate lined with paper towels.
6. Serve: Place a spoonful of pesto in the center of 6 plates. Divide the bean salad evenly over the pesto and scatter the wild arugula (Note from Marc: I just drew this lightly with a bit of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and some decent salt)over the salad. Arrange the anchovy beignets over the salad and serve.