Friday, July 16, 2010

Lemony White Bean and Tomato Salad with Dill


Another So Cal Summer Salad!  Yay!  Actually I was sort of feigning excitement; to be honest, I was almost tempted not to make this salad.  You see, this salad came from the June issue of Bon Appetit, and this particular issue was the one where I had found my recipe for Arugula, Fennel, and Apricot Salad... and well, we all know how that turned out.  A recipe for disappointment and pain (specifically a battle wound that has just finally healed), and that is certainly not what The Cilantropist is striving for.  



So, needless to say, it was with some trepidation and marked hesitation that I approached this recipe. (I also decided to be a little superstitious and not use my nemesis The Shun.  I figured if I brought out my trusty Henkels workhorse I would be less likely to cut myself and would instantly increase my chances of eating a delicious salad.  This is ridiculous, I know, but I refuse to apologize for the crazy way my mind works.)



It started out like the previous Bon Appetit salad: I enjoyed all the ingredients, the flavors seemed like they would meld together flawlessly, and the colors were fresh and bright. Then I was chopping everything up, and somehow the combination of the scents wafting up from the cutting board and the small tastes I took when I quickly licked my fingers (we all do this right? A little taste test here and there...) seemed somehow, just off.





I began to have a nagging feeling that despite my best efforts to make this salad great, I was going to end up with a bowl of some mediocre beans and veggies, or worse, a salad that I would refuse to eat.   However, I was relieved to discover that in this short and simple recipe (essentially throw all the stuff in a bowl and mix it up), I had overlooked one important step.  "Let marinate at room temperature 1 hour."  

Now.  Although this was a relief because it gave the salad at least 60 whole minutes to elevate itself to greatness, I was also still skeptical.  I don't know about you, but many times when a recipe says, "let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes," or, "refrigerate for at least one hour," I am always a little doubtful if this will really improve the flavor or texture of the dish.  I am 100% certain there are some preparations where resting time or refrigeration (especially for baking, eg.) are absolutely critical to achieving the proper final product.  But would it really make that much of a difference for this little bean salad?   



Well, as it turns out, the marinating time made all the difference in the world.  I was truly shocked, in a good way, when I tasted the salad after letting it sit for 60+ minutes.  The lemon flavor was intense, the garlic was there, everything was crunchy, and the red onions gave the dish the perfect bite.  And if you are a dill fan, this salad had plenty of it!  I think this was a really nice change of pace from the type of salads I usually eat, and I bet it would be for you too. Give this salad a rest, for an hour or even overnight, and take it to your next BBQ or picnic with friends. 

Just make sure you are not like me, and you check your skepticism at the door.


*Update 07/03/11: I just submitted this recipe to Get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France CheeseRösleEmile HenryRouxbe and ManPans!  Head on over to their site to check out more vegetarian recipes for summer parties and barbecues! 
 


Lemony White Bean and Tomato Salad with Dill
Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2010
(double all the ingredients to serve 6-8)


15 ounce can of cannellini (great northern) beans, rinsed and drained throughly
1 1/2 cups halved sweet cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest from one lemon
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced


In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients together, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let sit at room temperature for at least one hour, or in the refrigerator overnight.  Depending on your preference, serve chilled, or let come to room temperature before serving.  

29 comments:

  1. This salad looks so refreshing! And I LOVE dill, it's my absolute favorite herb. I'd like to make a huge batch of this and eat it for lunch next week, thanks!

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  2. Yum! I love a good bean salad! No skepticism here, this dish has my name written all over it!

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  3. Oh my gosh, gorgy! I bet the marination boosted the flavors so much! Yum!

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  4. I make a really similar salad, and you're right... it's pretty meh when you first mix it, but after an hour or two it really comes to life (actually, it's even better the day after, because the dressing really soaks up into the beans). Sometimes I like to add tuna to turn it into a main course, too.

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  5. Yumm-a-lish! This would be a terrific make-ahead dish for a barbeque with company. Our cherry tomato plant is looking extremely vigorous, and I'll be making this when we're in up to our eyeballs in cherry tomatoes!

    i love Isabelle's idea of adding tuna. Or using the salad as a base for a piece of quickly seared fresh tuna.

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  6. The photos make me so hungry!!!

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  7. This looks so simply good! Your pictures are great!

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  8. There is nothing about this salad that's unappetizing to me! I can't wait to try it out.

    Also, that is a *beautiful* shot of the diced onions! So artistic.

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  9. Looks really really good... simplw and easy! I like it!

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  10. That's really funny, I usually assume marinating will make everything all better!

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  11. Oh yes, a perfect choice for these quickly warming (ok it's hot now) days...Looks beautiful:)

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  12. This looks like an amazing combination. Definitely lunch worthy for the summertime! Do you eat it at room temperature, or can you have it cold, do you think?

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  13. What a PERFECT summer salad! I can imagine a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and sitting outside at night with warm Bay Area breezes. Thank you for sharing!

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  14. Looks great. I've found that non-lettuce salads can always use a little fridge time to meld the flavors. Also, I hate dill. Don't know why. I just do. What would you recommend I use instead of dill?

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  15. Love a bean salad, love white beans. I will have to save this.

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  16. So glad to see the recipe calls for cannellini beans rather than navy. I prefer the creaminess of cannellini and find navy beans a bit mealy.

    Many bean salads that have vinegar/olive oil as its base taste better hours later and best if sat overnight. FYI, I take bean salads on hikes with some diced roasted or grilled chicken. Great post on the import of allowing time for flavors to meld.

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  17. It's a nice simple bean summer salad... YUM!

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  18. What a great salad! I would have never thought of this! It sounds very delicious and a great way for beans! Those cupcakes below look really good also! I'm new here and will be returning for sure to see what's cooking!

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  19. A fresh and gorgeous salad with fantastic flavors in the zest, garlic and dill. I like the idea of preparing it ahead of time, letting it sit and then pull it out of the fridge when it's time for dinner and it's marinated.

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  20. That healthy salad is perfect! I love that kind of food. So summery and flavorful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  21. Congrats on the Top 9. This salad is so good. I made it myself this summer and letting it sit for a bit is definately the best. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. Congrats on the Top 9! I love cannellini beans but I don't cook with them often enough. Isn't the shun scary?!?!! Both my husband and I cut ourselves the very first time we used them but we've gotten used to them and have been lucky since. Glad you had a happy salad making experience. :)

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  23. Hi Amanda, congrats on the top 9, your salad looks lovely and must be delicious all lemony.

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  24. Yay, congrats on a beautiful Top 9!

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  25. Looks deeelish and much congrats on making today's top 9! That's freak'n awesome. :)

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  26. I am so glad I found your blog...your photographs are just stunning. This salad looks perfect for summer...simple, elegant, and filled with the bounty of the season (I love summer tomatoes!)

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  27. This is my kind of salad! All my fav ingredients and great flavours! I don't cook with dill enough, I have to try this!

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  28. ::drooling:: this looks delicious! i LOVE me some dill, and this would taste so good on these hot summer afternoons. great recipe!

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