Cannellini Bean, Fennel and Shrimp Salad
- 1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans
- 1 fennel bulb, about 1 lb.
- 1 lb. medium shrimp, cooked
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 6 large butter lettuce leaves
Pick over and discard any misshapen beans and stones. Rinse the beans, put in a large bowl, add water to cover by about 3 inches and let soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Drain the beans, place in a saucepan and add water to cover generously. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer gently until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain well, measure out 3 cups and set aside; reserve any remaining beans for another use.
Cut off the stems and feathery leaves from the fennel bulb; set the leaves aside. Discard the outer layer of the bulb if it is tough and cut away any discolored areas. Quarter the bulb lengthwise and cut away any tough base portions. In a large bowl, combine the fennel with ice water to cover and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain well and cut into 1/4-inch dice. You will have about 2 cups. Finely chop enough of the reserved fennel leaves to yield 1/2 cup.
Peel and devein the shrimp, then cut into pieces slightly larger than the beans. In a mortar, using a pestle, coarsely crush the fennel seeds. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, fennel seeds, garlic, salt and pepper until blended. Add the chopped fennel bulb and leaves, beans, shrimp and red onion. Fold gently until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Place a lettuce leaf on each plate. Top with the salad, dividing it evenly, and serve immediately.