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Bean and Radish Salad

This is not your grandmother’s three-bean salad! Look on this recipe as a template that you can fashion with as many different types of beans as you like. The more colors and textures you have the better. The crispiness of the radish mixes nicely with the creaminess of the cannellini beans.

Ingredients:

For the cannellini beans:

  • 1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 celery rib, halved
  • 1 carrot
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste

For the Zinfandel vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup Zinfandel vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup pure olive oil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • 1 lb. mixed pole beans, such as Romano, yellow and purple wax, Dragon Tongue and Blue Lake
  • 8 red radishes, trimmed and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup small fresh basil leaves, preferably Piccolo Fino Verde

Directions:

To prepare the cannellini beans, pick over the beans, discarding any grit or misshapen beans. Rinse the beans under cold running water, transfer to a large pot and add water to cover by 2 inches. Let stand for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Drain the beans and return them to the pot. Add the yellow onion, celery, carrot and water to cover by 2 inches. Place over medium heat, bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 2 hours. The timing will depend on the age of the beans.

Remove from the heat and let the cannellini beans cool in the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the yellow onion, celery and carrot. Season the beans with salt and pepper and a big splash of olive oil. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.

To make the Zinfandel vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and pure olive oil until emulsified and then whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Have ready a large bowl of salted ice water. Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pole beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain immediately and immerse in the ice water to cool completely. Drain and pat dry.

Drain the cannellini beans well, transfer to a large bowl, and add the pole beans, radishes and red onion. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper and toss to mix. Sprinkle in the basil leaves and taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Divide among chilled individual plates and serve. Serves 10.

Adapted from Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal, by Chris Cosentino (Olive Press, 2012). Photograph by Michael Harlan Turkell.