By now it’s pretty clear to everyone that here in the mid-west, spring has effectively been canceled. It’s not the first time in our lives that we have been denied what is often a beautiful season; this year, not so much. Once in a while, it is equally clear that we have to take things into our own hands, to whatever extent possible. Thanks to my favorite local supermarket and the luxury of having a couple of days off, I decided to bring a little bit of spring into our cottage kitchen, this past Wednesday.
Growing up, I was one of “those kids” who avoided tomatoes. They fell into the same category as doctor visits and picking stones (don’t even ask what that is.)
Fortunately, through the years, some of my youthful in tolerances have gained favor with me later in life. Although picking stones never really budged from my list of things I could have done without, tomatoes, in particular, have made a marked shift in this regard.
Even if tomatoes had not found a new place close to my heart, they would still be a common staple in our kitchen collection of vegetables. The reason: our son Joe.
This fifth grader of ours could eat cherry tomatoes by the bucket. Of course this brings me great happiness due in no small part to the balance this food choice provides to the all too many less healthy and processed snacks that are a constant challenge in our lives and those of our kids.
Besides bringing a little taste of spring and a good portion of tasty bite size cherry tomatoes to our table, this little beauty brings with it one of my favorite legumes and all-around foods: white beans. Full of protein, fiber, folate, and other important nutrients, each serving of these little beans provides even more natural goodness. The dressing in the recipe is merely a suggestion, it works well with this combination but don’t feel compelled to strictly adhere to it if one or more of the ingredients don’t suit your taste. As with any recipe or food idea, play with it and make it your own. Whether you choose to feature it on your own culinary blog is a personal choice, doing so however frequently brings gratitude from your friends and readers!
White Bean Salad with Cherry Tomatoes
- 15 ounce white beans such as Great Northern or canelli beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes washed and halved
- ½ cup coarsely chopped parsley
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- 2 anchovy fillets coarsely chopped (omit for vegetarian option)
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup of lemon juice
- Put the garlic and rosemary in olive oil in a small saucepan.
- Heat on medium until the rosemary begins to sizzle.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 20 minutes, allowing the rosemary and garlic to infuse in the oil.
- Remove rosemary sprig from the oil, discard.
- Remove the garlic from the oil, reserving the oil.
- Add the garlic, anchovies (omit for vegetarian option), Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice to a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
- In a medium bowl, gently fold the garlic mixture in with the beans until they are well coated. Let sit for a few minutes for the beans to absorb.
- Gently mix in the reserved olive oil, tomatoes, and parsley.