Gratin of White Bean, Zucchini, Tomato

white bean gratin

We first posted this recipe three years ago, after it had become a perennial favorite in our households. A go-to for using up summer zucchini, this gratin is hearty enough to satisfy winter appetites. The zucchini can be replaced with delicata or butternut, but you’ll have to increase the cooking time. The gratin also could be assembled and baked in the oven for about 30 minutes before being broiled.  We demoed this for USBG as part of our January heirloom bean theme; we used fresh dried beans rather than canned ones. The original recipe came from The Washington Post so many years ago they don’t have it in their archives any more!

3 T olive oil
3 zucchini, cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 ½ C canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
2 T fresh thyme
4 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 15-oz can white beans – cannellini, navy or great northern, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat a skillet and add olive oil; when oil is hot, add zucchini and saute over medium-high heat until lightly browned; remove with slotted spoon and reserve.  Add onion and garlic, turn heat down, cover and cook gently, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, five minutes, until onion is soft and translucent.  Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer, cook another five minutes.  Add thyme, basil, beans and zucchini.  Simmer five minutes, taste for seasoning.  Pour mixture into a gratin dish and top with shredded cheese. Place gratin under pre-heated broiler five minutes or until cheese is lightly brown and melted.  Serve immediately.


Green Bean Salad with Walnuts, Fennel and Goat Cheese

green-bean-salad_300

Got green beans coming out of your ears? This month at the US Botanic Gardens here in Washington, DC, we brought two new salads using this popular legume. Green beans aren’t just to be tossed in a little butter – these summery salads are sure to zing things up.

1 ½ T Dijon mustard
2 T white wine vinegar
¾ t sea salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds green beans, trimmed (a combination of green and yellow is great)
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced into half-moons (1¼ to 1½ C)
¾ C walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 (4-oz) log fresh goat cheese, crumbled
¼ C fresh dill, chopped
¼ C flat leaf parsley, chopped

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Gradually add the oil and whisk until well combined; set aside. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to cool, and set aside until you’re ready to assemble the salad.

In a large bowl, combine the green beans, fennel, and walnuts. Add the goat cheese, herbs and vinaigrette just before serving (the acidity of the vinegar with turn the green beans to a dull green if marinated). Toss well and serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves 8-10.


Radish and Fava Bean Salad with Green Tahini Sauce

radish salad 2

 

 

This delightfully colored and deliciously flavored salad comes from Yotam Ottolenghi, the Israel-born chef who’s become all the rage in the UK, where he has a half-dozen very popular restaurants, and in the US, where his books are selling like hotcakes (we admit, we have them too).  In this version, Danielle substituted edamame for the broad beans called for in Ottolenghi’s original. We now have a recipe for Preserved Lemons on the website — after many reminders from fans.

1 lb. fava, lima or soybeans, fresh or frozen
1 bunch radishes, washed, root and leaves removed, cut into 6 wedges
½ Bermuda (red) onion, very thinly sliced
½ preserved lemon, pulp and seeds removed, finely chopped*
Juice of 1-2 lemons
2 T cilantro, chopped
2 T flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. cumin
3 T olive oil

Pita bread wedges, if desired

Green Tahini Sauce

½ C tahini
½ C water
¼ C fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic
½ C flat leaf parsley
Sea salt to taste

Bring a pot large enough for the beans of water to a boil. Add the beans and simmer until tender. This will vary depending on the size of the bean and the type of bean using. Fresh limas will take about 20 minutes, frozen soybeans will take about 5 minutes. Once tender, drain and rinse under cold water.

Cut the radishes into 6 wedges (or more if the radishes are very large) and put them in a serving bowl. Add the beans and all the remaining ingredients. Toss well, taste and adjust for salt and lemon juice. Serve with Green Tahini Sauce and pita bread wedges.
Serves 4-6.

To make the sauce, process all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Start with ¼ cup of water and add as needed. Taste and adjust for salt. Serve alongside the salad with pita bread. Sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Escarole and Beans

escarole

 

 

Using escarole as your greens in this means that this recipes comes together in about five minutes — that’s how fast the escarole cooks. The salad green also has a nice, soft bitterness and plays well with the beans, making them taste almost sweet. Don’t drain your beans! The liquid provides a creamy sauce. This is absolutely a favorite in our household — it is equally comfortable alongside pan-fried fish, a grilled steak or a hearty stew. If you were to add some sliced grilled sausage to it, you’d make this side into a main course — or just double up on amounts, warm up some crusty bread,  and make it a vegetarian main course. Even small children wanted more when we demoed this at US Botanic Garden in October 2014 so we ramped it up again for Brookside in November 2014.

2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ t salt
½ t pepperescarole
¼ t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3 heads escarole, rough-cut into 2- 3-inch pieces
1 can white cannellini beans
2 T shredded Parmesan

In a large pot heat oil, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes; do not let the garlic brown. Add escarole and cook down slightly. Add beans and bean liquid; turn up heat and cook until liquid begins to take on a syrupy look and beans are heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.


My Favorite Bean Soup

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As soon as it gets cold, I roll this out. And last night we started the wood stove for the first time this season — a record, since usually we are cranking it by mid-October. There are lots of ways to make a good bean soup. This one is a fave because it’s easy and quicker than most — the trick here is to use beans that are already cooked. It’s a bit “Tuscan,” a bit “Navy,” and a lot delish. I use what I have in the refrigerator, which makes it come out a bit different each time I make, although of course you can go out and buy all the ingredients and make it the same each time.  The one constant is fresh rosemary — it really makes this soup. Read More


Meyer Lemon Green Beans

meyer lemon beans

Meyer lemons, a cross between a lemon and mandarin orange, are in season for just a short time across the holidays. In this recipe, the sweet-tangy flavor that is unique to these tasty lemons brings a fresh and different dimension to fresh green beans.  The breadcrumb and cheese topping complete the effect, making this one of the best sides of the season. Make extra sauce and topping and keep them in the refrigerator for other green vegetables, including broccoli and asparagus.  Serves 6-8. Adapted from Fine Cooking. Read More


Smoky Eggplant & Bean Dip

eggplant dip

 

 

This lovely dip comes from our friends at Fine Cooking, with slight adaptations.  We are fans of anchovies, so for us, that ingredient isn’t optional. In this dip, the anchovy taste is very subtle, providing more of an umami layer, which makes the dish more compelling.  If you’re uncertain about it, on your first try of this recipe, replace the whole, mashed anchovy filets with a teaspoon of anchovy paste, which will give you less of the anchovy.

2 lb. eggplant, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
2 anchovy fillets (optional)
1 clove garlic
1 can cannellini beans (13.5 oz), drained and rinsed
2 T fresh lemon juice; more to taste
6 T olive oil
1 T chopped fresh mint, plus 1 T small leaves for garnish
2 t chopped fresh oregano
2 T pine nuts, toasted

Position a rack 4 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with oil. Rub the eggplant all over with 2 T of the oil. Arrange the eggplant, flesh side down, on the baking sheet and broil until the skin is charred and the eggplant flesh is very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, if using anchovies, mash them into a paste with the side of a chef’s knife. Roughly chop the garlic, sprinkle it with a generous pinch of kosher salt, and mash it into a paste with the side of a chef’s knife. Transfer the anchovy and garlic pastes to a food processor and add the beans, 3-4 T of the oil, and 1 Tbs. water. Purée until smooth. When the eggplant is done, set it aside to cool briefly. Scrape the eggplant flesh from the skin and add the flesh to the puréed beans in the food processor, along with the lemon juice, chopped mint, and oregano. Pulse briefly to form a chunky dip. Adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice to taste. Serve sprinkled with the pine nuts and mint leaves, with toasted pita crisps on the side for dipping.