Sunday, August 22, 2010

White Bean Salad--A Very Lazy Idea

This is another easy salad that I love to serve with grilled or roasted meat or fish dishes. All the effort is in the chopping. Other than that, there is nothing easier to make, as it has only three ingredients, and the main one--white canned beans--I keep always on my pantry's shelf.

As today's recipe for the salad is so banal that there is nothing to talk about, I would like to take this opportunity to share a few more general culinary ideas and make some clarifying remarks on the recipes I posted earlier.

My recipes often leave space for creativity and I could be more liberal in defining the quantities of the ingredients used but, since this blog is also addressed to those who do not yet feel very comfortable in the kitchen, I try to measure all the ingredients and provide their accurate proportions to maximize everyone's chance to succeed. But you should always feel free to experiment. For instance, you could easily use more or less of the non-essential ingredients, like salt or spices, to achieve the taste you like. You could also use different fruits for the upside down cake, as it will not hurt its taste.

However, some of the recipes work well only when you use the key ingredients as recommended and strictly observe their proportions. Likewise, some of these dishes should be served only with the recommended accompaniments or at least something similar. For example: this blue cheese snack requires hard blue cheese, like Stilton, and will not work with Gorgonzola, which is soft already and will melt too fast. Similarly, yogurt dumplings will not taste right with the Asian-style sweet and sour meats, and should be served only with spicy meats of goulash type.

As soon as the summer and my traveling ends, I will start posting some of my more complicated culinary ideas, which I find more enjoyable, since they can truly prove my creativity and passion for food. But for now, lazy cooks enjoy!

White Bean Salad

2 cans any kind of white bean--I used Italian Cannellini beans,
1 English cucumber,
1/2 bunch of chives or 1 bunch of spring onion,
1/4 cup chopped dill,
1 tbsp mustard,
1 tsp sugar,
juice from 1 lemon,
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil,
salt and freshly ground pepper.

1. Open the cans of and rinse the beans with running water on the colander.
2. Peel the cucumber and cut it into small cubes.
3. Chop spring onion and dill.
4. Make a dressing from mustard, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. When the dressing is smooth, pour in olive oil and stir gently.
5. Mix together the cucumber, beans, and herbs. Pour the dressing all over the salad and serve.

This amount of salad can satisfy 4 to 6 hungry guests. Can be served for dinner with meats or as a lunch dish with bread.

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