Summer White Bean Salad

Now that we’re smack dab in the middle of summer and our barbecues are working overtime producing copious platters of grilled meats and veggies, I thought I’d offer up this wondrous bean salad to perform side dish duty.

As far as I’m concerned, side dishes are the unsung heroes of the barbecue, and this bean salad is as good as any I’ve had in a long while.  You can swap out the herbs to complement whatever meat you’re grilling or just throw in your favorites.  I added in some chopped sun-dried tomatoes which gave the dish a lovely spark, and mincing in some chilies for a little heat would be equally scrumptious.

And if you’re contemplating a go at last week’s Circle B BBQ sauce and grilled chicken, this would be perfect served alongside.  You can make it days in advance – the flavors will just get better.

And from the update department, we thought you’d like to know that the saga of Stillwell the rooster has come to a happier ending than we might have intimated here.  He has, in fact, found new lodging digs with my daughter’s chickens, and  now has free reign to crow his lungs out and lots of pretty chicken girls to play with.  Stillwell says thanks!

SUMMER WHITE BEAN SALAD

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe courtesy Lucinda Scala Quinn via Martha Stewart.com

This is an amazingly tasty salad or side dish to accompany just about anything from the grill.  The flavors get better the longer it sits, so it's perfect for making ahead.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

3  15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup chopped or torn fresh dill, mint, or basil (optional)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (optional)
a few minced red chilies (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions (green party only), finely sliced
About 1/3 cup Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Directions

Combine the beans in a large bowl with the red onion, parsley, optional herb of choice, salt, and pepper.

Slowly stir in just enough of the dressing to coat the beans (about 1/3 cup). Garnish with the scallions. Serve immediately or refrigerate. The salad will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Vinaigrette
yield Makes 1 cup

1 tablespoon minced shallot or garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon light-brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a clean jar, mash together the shallot, mustard, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.

Pour in the vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Cover tightly and shake well to combine and emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.  This makes a great salad dressing!

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