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Warm Shrimp and White Bean Salad

Warm Shrimp and White Bean Salad
Bright pink-and-white butterflied shrimp look beautiful against a background of plump white beans. Use dried beans that are less than a year old, or they will not cook evenly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/8 cups dried large white beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig, 4 inches long
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 18 large shrimp, peeled
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar

Directions:

Pick over the beans and discard any misshapen beans and stones. Rinse the beans and drain. Place in a bowl, add plenty of water to cover and let soak for 8 hours. Drain the beans and place in a saucepan with the 6 cups water. Add the yellow onion and rosemary. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, skimming off any foam. Cover partially, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat and remove the onion and woody rosemary sprig (leave any detached leaves). Season the beans generously with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, using a small knife, make a deep slit along the back of each peeled shrimp so it will open like a butterfly when cooked. With the tip of the knife or your fingers, lift up and pull out the long, veinlike intestinal tract. Add the shrimp to the boiling water and cook just until they turn pink, about 45 seconds; do not overcook. Drain and transfer to a large, shallow serving bowl.

Drain the warm beans and add to the bowl along with the olive oil, red onion, parsley, garlic and vinegar. Toss well. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Classic Pasta at Home, by Janet Fletcher (Time-Life Books, 1998).