Butter bean and mint salad

Butter bean and mint salad

Insalata di fagioli spagnoli e mentuccia

By
From
Venice
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

Butter beans are a newcomer to my diet but now I am hooked. They are really good for you, filling and inexpensive – what more could you want! Their velvety smoothness makes a creamy contrast to grilled meats and crunchy vegetables. This recipe is good with cannellini or haricot beans too but you will have to adjust the cooking time. I cook them from dried while I have meat cooking long and slow in the oven. It gives the same result as soaking the beans first but it does mean they have a longer cooking time.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200g dried butter beans
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, peeled and halved
1 fat garlic clove, skin on
4 spring onions, finely chopped
or 1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
handful mint leaves, shredded
handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped, (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Rinse the beans in cold water and discard any broken ones. Put them into a heavy-based flameproof casserole dish and pour in enough cold water to cover them by 3 cm. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, the onion and garlic clove and stir through. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 1 hour. Stir the beans through and check if they are tender. Depending on how old they are and how they were dried their cooking time can vary; they may need up to 1 more hour, but check again every 15 minutes. As soon as they are tender all the way through, drain and pour the beans into a serving dish.
  2. Soak the onions in cold water to dilute their strength for 10 minutes, drain, dry on paper towels and tip into the beans. Pour over the oil, a little extra salt as required, a good twist of black pepper (I loosen my peppermill to get some good crunchy pieces of pepper) and the mint and toss through while the beans are still warm. Serve straight away or allow to cool to room temperature. Scatter with parsley just before serving.

Variation

  • Add a few baby spinach leaves and crumbled feta to the bean salad to make it more of a main meal.
Tags:
Venice
Giancarlo
Katie
Caldesi
Venetian
Italian
European
Mediterranean
Italy
Europe
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