I sat here staring at the computer screen for a while trying to decide on what story to share with you for this recipe.
I could tell you about how my sister and I created the recipe while sitting still in traffic on I-95. Creating recipes keeps me from banging my head against the steering wheel.
I could tell you that we made this for the 4th of July and it was a major hit. Really, beans. I wouldn’t lie to you.
I could tell you that I went to the grocery store 3 different times for this recipe because each time I forgot something critical, like beans. I wish I was lying to you.
But really, none of that is too exciting. What’s exciting here is this salad. I used to be sort of indifferent when it came to beans. I ate them because I knew they were good for me, but I never got excited for them. OK maybe this one time. But I never craved beans…until now. This truly is the best bean salad I’ve ever had. And I want to eat it every day for the rest of the summer. Dramatic? Sure, but necessary. It’s that good.
When I used to think of Italian bean salad, salad bars came to mind. The ones that have that standard mixture of beans and tangy, processed Italian dressing. And then I don’t want to think about it anymore. But here, tender cannellini beans, shavings of Parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes are tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, basil and parsley. It’s served chilled and perfect for summer. I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop eating it.
On the 4th we used canned beans, but I made it again using dried beans. You know, the ones I forgot 3 times. I finally soaked them, boiled them and simmered them for an hour….only to find that I really don’t think it’s worth the trouble here. Maybe it’s because the beans don’t simmer in a sauce like these, absorbing all the flavors in the pan, but I really couldn’t tell too much of a difference. Both were amazingly delicious. So just use what you have. Or don’t and go to the store three times. It’s worth it.
Italian Bean Salad
3 -15oz cans of cannellini beans (or 1-16oz bag of dried beans)
1 block of Parmesan cheese for shaving (about 1.5-2 oz shaved)
3/4-1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (I used Kosher salt)
Posted on July 9, 2011