I recently bought a single bunch of bushy carrots. At first glance it was a good-looking grape – bright orange with green tones still clinging to it. But only at second glance did I notice the tiny carrots nestling next to their bigger brothers and sisters. Some of the smallest carrots were no bigger than a knitting needle, not much longer than my little finger. I ate it after a short rinse. I used the bigger boys in this pan-fried, herb-sprinkled white bean salad.
A simple pan bean salad
This recipe isn't complicated. Warm, coin-shaped slices of golden, fried carrots, white beans and chopped herbs are tossed with a tangy, sweet lemon and shallot dressing. It tastes good on the day of preparation and even better the day after. And while it's certainly not that nice, I think it tastes best on the third day as the shallots streaked the beans and the lemon softened.
- Carrots: When shopping for carrots, watch out for young carrots that have green stuck on them. This is one way to get a good feel for whether the fret is fresh or not. Can you use regular grocery carrots? For sure! If possible, look for bunches of smaller carrots. Or if those aren't available, cut your carrot coins into crescents.
- Beans: On the bean front, I tend to cook the beans from scratch. I like a creamy little white bean for this salad. Alubia beans, Peruano beans, and cannellini beans all worked great. And yes! You can use well-drained canned white beans if you want to toss this up on a whim.
- Herbs: I'm starting to make this bean salad with dill. I like how dill is always a bit unexpected, and it works wonderfully for reducing the creaminess of the white beans while still retaining the ability to withstand the shallots and lemon juice. Basil is a nice alternative when you run out of dill. Coriander is great. I mean, it's hard to go wrong with your herbal component. Use what you have.
Make a meal out of it
This recipe has been in our repertoire for several years now. One of my favorite things to do is do a double batch. It can sit in the refrigerator for a few days, no problem, and is a great addition to many meals. That said, I often make it a favorite food. It's fantastic to mix the bean salad with a short pasta like penne, radiatore or rigatoni and some goat cheese. To get a dash of green in the mix, I often add broccoli florets or pieces of asparagus to the pasta water at the last minute. If necessary, season with salt and lemon juice.
There are so many different ways you can remix this bean salad. Once you have the base of beans and carrots in the pan, messing around with the dressing can go in dramatically different directions. For example, you can skip the lemon and shallot dressing and use a diluted pesto instead. The crushed walnut sauce I use here is another option. I also made a toasted paprika puree that has been diluted with olive oil and fortified with cayenne pepper for another twist.
Rachel D. mentioned in the comments: "… I added fava beans that I found at the UN Plaza farmers market (I thought the fava season was over, but I think not!) To sugar and it was sweet enough . "Love that idea.
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