Tuna and Flageolet Bean Salad with Garlic Scapes

This salad should really be called a late spring tuna and bean salad, but the ship has sailed on that one, seeing as not only has the solstice come and gone, but July 4th as well.

Tuna and Flageolet Bean Salad with Garlic Scapes (5 of 5)

And the ship nearly sailed on the ingredients for this salad.  I got back from Seattle to find my garlic scapes nearly fully straightened and standing tall, when they should be harvested while the stem still circles over itself.  My dill plants were going to seed, and I hadn’t even used them yet.  And a quick pantry raid produced the remains of last year’s bulk purchase of flageolet beans and several jars of gourmet jarred tuna I had gotten on sale.

Tuna and Flageolet Bean Salad with Garlic Scapes (2 of 5)

At least the lemon was fresh.

From such inauspicious beginnings, though, I did manage to pull together a rather delicious (and dare I say, fairly healthy) bean salad.  If you don’t know flageolets, they are immature kidney beans and thus are as you expect rather mild in flavor.  You can happily substitute in the more easily found white beans, which combine just as nicely with the rich flesh of tuna.  Finally, dill always makes me think seafood:  I suppose that, like lemon, its bracing aroma gives a little lift to fatty briny fish.

Tuna and Flageolet Bean Salad with Garlic Scapes (1 of 5)

And the garlic scapes?  I’ll have to ask you to give me the benefit of the doubt on this one.   You see, I don’t know if it’s because of my tardy harvest, or the fact that after I picked them I let them languish in my fridge for two more days (not in water, not even in the crisper, the horror!), or both, but as I dug in for my first bite I found myself gnawing on bits of scape that could only be generously described as tough, and which made me feel like I was chewing through bark (not that I’ve ever done that to know, mind you).  I had a few mouthfuls, in the hopes that I had just gotten a bad bit, but sadly, my jaw let me know it was going to give out.

But I was able to draw a few conclusions from this (besides that I am not the greatest of amateur farmers).  My first few bites told me that as I’d guessed when putting this all together, the flavor of the garlic scape nicely complements this salad, assuming you do not get old stale woody ones.  (If you’ve ever had good garlic scapes–as we have in the past–you know that they are typically tender and sweet).  My remaining bites, where I dodged as much as possible the little green woody bits, confirmed that the scapes are merely an optional ingredient, and the salad is plenty good without them (which is great because good garlic scales are, ahem, not always easy to find).  And you’ll see that whatever you choose to do, the salad is also plenty easy to put together.

Tuna and Flageolet Bean Salad with Garlic Scapes (4 of 5)

Tuna and Flageolet Bean Salad with Garlic Scapes
Recipe Type: salad
Author: Sara
Ingredients
  • about 2 cups of flageolet or white beans (from 3/4 cup dried)
  • six ounces of tuna canned in olive oil
  • about six garlic scapes (optional)
  • 2T olive oil
  • several sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. If using dried beans, prepare by cooking until tender. Drain the beans well and set aside (but plan to finish the salad while they are still warm; warm briefly if using canned beans)
  2. Chop the garlic scapes into 1/4-inch (2.5cm) pieces. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic scales and sautee gently until soft–this should only take a minute or two.
  3. Squeeze the lemon juice into the bottom of a large bowl. Add the dill and garlic scapes, then the warm beans and stir. Add the tuna from the jar or can, using a fork to break it up as you go and adding the oil the tuna was packed in. Toss and stir again, adjust for salt and pepper and serve.

Tuna and Flageolet Bean Salad with Garlic Scapes (3 of 5)

Late Summer or Indian Summer Fruit Salad

I love fruit, pretty much all kinds.  Yes, if asked, “what’s your favorite food?” I’d probably just say “fruit.”  If pressed for more specifics, “a berry.”  My dad talks about his travels to east Asia and the delicious types of fruit only available there.  I can only imagine.  Being in the Pacific Northwest again provides many opportunities.  Suddenly there is a bounty of fruit.

For many people, this is where canning would come in.  That’s a great option, but I prefer immediate access when possible.  Combining these fruits is a great way to mix the flavors, crisp, tender, sweet, tart and tangy.

Often I use lemon juice as a dressing and even add some of the zest, but there wasn’t much at hand.  The next best citrus available was orange juice.  I spotted the raspberry jam as well in the fridge, and thought I’d tie it together.

Late Summer Fruit Salad
Recipe Type: dessert, side
Author: Karen
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4 small peaches or nectarines, pitted and cut to small pieces
  • 4 small red plums, pitted and halved
  • 4 small green plums, pitted and halved
  • 1 small Asian Pear, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
Instructions
  1. Wash and prepare the fruit and combine in a large serving dish.
  2. Sprinkle sugar over fruit and mix.
  3. Stir orange juice and jam together until combined and pour over fruit.
  4. Chill in refrigerator before serving.

 

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

It’s been hot.  I don’t have to tell you that though.  You’re all too well acquainted with that by now.  And the kitchen, and more specifically, the kitchen stove, may be the last place you want to be at the moment.  But, ah, one still has to eat!

So here’s a very easy, refreshing salad you can make quickly and without breaking (any more of ) a sweat.

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad (3 of 5)

Black bean and corn look beautiful together, and all the more so when topped with roughly chopped cilantro.  And they taste even better–sweet corn, tender earthy beans, fresh lime dressing.  Served cold, but with some heat from a spicy pepper.  And not only can you make it ahead, it’s one of those blessed recipes that only gets better the longer it camps out in the fridge.  And it’s healthy to boot!

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad (1 of 5)

Now, I added a few extra steps by using dried beans and roasted corn.  You can simplify this on both counts.  For one, canned beans can easily sub in for dried.  My sisters ignore me when I tell them to use dry beans so you should feel free to do so as well.

As for the corn, frozen is a good alternative.  Right now, corn on the cob is fresh and cheap and just about everywhere.  Roasting  it in the oven to bring out a  little more flavor and sweetness, and for me it’s easier than boiling those ears  in a huge pot of water.  Of course, as we’ve established above, it’s hot, so you might be wondering why I am willingly turning on the oven.  Good point.   But if you’re still interested,  roast your corn the night before in the relative cool of the evening, and the next day after you get home from work your salad will come together in a flash.

Roasted Corn on the Cob (1 of 2)

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

  • 3 ears corn (or substitute 1 1/2c frozen)
  • 3c black beans, cooked and well-drained (soak and cook 1 cup of dry beans or use 2 cans black beans)
  • 2T lime juice (from one large lime)
  • 2T rice wine vinegar
  • 2T olive oil
  • 2 shallots or one small red onion, chopped
  • one hot pepper (such as Anaheim, jalapeno or even serrano if you like it hot!), seeds removed, chopped fine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2c chopped fresh cilantro
  • chips for garnish
If not using frozen corn, roast the corn at 500F for 20 minutes, until the ears are starting to brown in spots.    Allow to cool, then cut the kernels from the cob:  stand the corn on its base, hold the tip with one hand, then use a large knife to cut the kernels off, using a sawing motion.  You’ll get the swing of it quickly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, and olive oil.  Stir in the corn, beans, onions or shallots, and hot pepper.  Adjust for salt and pepper–you may need to add more than you think, especially if you start with dried beans.
Chill for at least an hour or more, then top with cilantro.  Serve with tortilla chips (I used Xochitl blue corn chips which are a bit of a splurge but razor thin and deliciously crisp).

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad (5 of 5)

Sweet Potato and Rio Zape Bean Salad

The people at Rancho Gordo talk about their beans the way oenophiles talk about wine.  They can explain the subtle variances in flavor among Black Calypso Beans and Black Valentine Beans, and stock heirloom varieties with crazy names such as “Goat’s Eye,” “Christmas Lima” and of course don’t forget to call dear old “Good Mother Stallard.”  They’re not quite as cheap as buying from the bulk bin at the grocery store, but since it’s beans we’re talking about, they’re still not a bad buy.  You can do as I do and always order in bulk to save on shipping.  Dried beans are a pantry staple, after all.  And since it’s gardening season, it’s worth mentioning that these beans are so fresh you can plant them and grow your own.  They are so fresh they sprout almost immediately.

Sweet Potato and Rio Zape Bean Salad (2 of 4)

As much variety as there is, most beans have a more well-known counterpart (i.e. don’t be put off by the fancy names if you can’t find the one you’re looking for).  Rio Zapes are similar to pintos, Yellow Eye Beans can stand in for cannelinis.  But it’s fun to try the recipes that have been crafted specifically for each variety, and Rancho Gordo has plenty on their website and more in their book, Heirloom Beans–even though Rancho Gordo provides recipes almost reluctantly, emphasizing that their beans are so flavorful that little elaboration is warranted.  Nevertheless, I’ve been coveting this book for a while, every since I gave it to my father-in-law two years ago for Christmas.  (I figured it would be bad form to pretend it accidentally ended up with my stack of gifts so I resisted the urge to “borrow” it).  I guess virtue or patience or something like that eventually pays off as I got my hands on a copy recently.

No news that I love my sweet potatoes–I’m still happily eating them, even if by early spring I should theoretically be sick of them.  Adding beans in to make this salad makes them a meal and not just a side dish–and since I left out the salad greens (since my kitchen is always understocked), it turned out to be one of those great salads that just gets better as it sits in your fridge.

This salad is pretty simple to make, especially if you are lazy like me and skip the adornments:  toasted pine nuts and fried fresh sage leaves.  This is a pity, I admit, because pine nuts are easy to toast (and given their price, it’s worth the effort) and my sage plants are roaring to life in the garden.  But no point hiding it.  I am sometimes lazy and wont to skip the glorious finishing touches–and this salad was delicious enough, bare-bones style.  I did pluck a few sage leaves for the garnish in my photos though, and I do provide the instructions if you are a bit more ambitious than I.  That redeems it somewhat right?

I’ve been a Rancho Gordo fan for a while–for my earlier posts on Rancho Gordo beans, see herehere and here.

Sweet Potato and Rio Zape Bean Salad (3 of 4)

Sweet Potato and Rio Zape Bean Salad adapted from Rancho Gordo’s Heirloom Beans

Notes:  Rancho Gordo suggests serving on top of a bed of watercress.  i used dried chervil and marjoram–having dried chervil is hard enough, let alone finding it fresh, so you can always leave it out–some suggest parsley or tarragon as substitutes, but I haven’t tried this.

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2T pine nuts
  • 1c well-drained Rio Zape (or other pinto beans)

fried sage leaves

  • 1/4c grapeseed or safflower oil
  • 20 fresh sage leaves

dressing

  • 1 small shallot
  • 1t grainy mustard
  • 2T cider vinegar
  • 1/4c olive oil
  • 1T chopped parsley
  • 1t fresh chopped chervil (1/2t dried)
  • 1/2t chopped fresh marjoram (1/4t dried)
Preheat the oven to 400F.  Cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise into eighths, so you end up with wedges.  Then cut each wedge into triangles about 1/2-inch thick.  Place on a jelly roll pan or other baking dish, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, and use your hands to mix.  Roast about twenty minutes until tender and starting to caramelize at the edges, turning with a spatula or shaking the pan a few times to help roast evenly.
Toast the pine nuts in a small heavy skillet over low heat, shaking the pan often and watching closely.  This should take about 4 minutes.  When the aroma rises, remove to a plate (don’t let them sit in the pan and watch carefully so they don’t burn–as with all toasted nuts, they go from beautifully fragrant to burnt quickly).
To fry the sage leaves, warm the safflower oil over medium high in a small heavy skillet.   (Presumably the one you just toasted your pine nuts in).  Fry the leaves a few at a time for 10-15 seconds, removing to a paper towel to drain.
For the dressing, choose the bowl in which you will be serving your salad.  Whisk together the shallot, mustard, and vinegar.  Drizzle the olive oil in in a thin stream, whisking all the while,  Then whisk in the the parsley, chervil, marjoram, salt, and pepper.
When the sweet potatoes are done, allow to cool somewhat, then add to the bowl with the dressing along with the beans.  Stir to coat and adjust for salt.  (Beans often need extra salt).

Sweet Potato and Rio Zape Bean Salad (4 of 4)

Roasted Squash and Brussels Sprouts Salad

I don’t know when it happened, but somehow my concept of “salad” has been evolving away from leafy, light, and most of all green.  I hardly ever buy those bags of prewashed lettuce anymore (even fancy arugula or mesclun!), whereas once they were a mainstay for me.  I still buy healthy cruciferous vegetables for my salads, but now they tend to be the type that takes well to roasting, braising, or wilting:  we’re talking kale, broccoli rabe, or cabbage.  They then get tossed with hearty roots or squash, and chewy wheat berries or brown rice.  Rather than cool and crisp, these salads need to be served room temperature or even slightly warm.  I think the only thing this has in common with the more typical approach to salad that the mix of flavors and textures is bound together by a salty-sweet-smooth vinaigrette.

This salad I’m going to tell you about continues in my new vein.  I roasted chunks of squash and chopped brussels sprouts in the oven, while a pot of brown rice simmered and steamed its way to tenderness on the stove.  Meanwhile, to bring out the sweet caramelized flavors of these vegetables, I made a pomegranate molasses vinaigrette.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Winter Squash Salad (3 of 3)

Pomegranate molasses is an intense syrup made by boiling down pomegranate juice until thick and viscous–you can do it on your own, but unless you have a source for affordable pomegranate juice, it would be prohibitively expensive.  (But if you do have a source, please let me know!)  Much easier to buy it in the middle eastern section of the grocery store or online.  I’m always searching for interesting uses for it, and it occurred to me that its acid tang could brighten a winter salad.  I chose apple cider vinegar to complement the fruity notes of the molasses while cutting its intense sweetness.  A little salt, a healthy glug of olive oil, and your dressing is ready.

For a stunning visual effect I garnished with pomegranate seeds–I love the way they are both chewy and yet burst in your mouth, and their unusual mix of flavors:  an almost berry-like flavor with a gently bitter finish.  To prepare your own, cut the pomegranate in half and hold over a bowl while you use your fingertips to massage the seeds out.   Remove any white membrane that falls into the bowl and discard.  There’s one additional tip that I find indispensable–wear something you don’t mind staining.  This juice is dark and red and no matter how careful you are seems to squirt everywhere as you fish out the fruit.  An apron is just not enough.  (Or, I’m particularly messy, which is a possibility that cannot be discounted).

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Winter Squash Salad (2 of 3)

You don’t have to use the pomegranate seeds, but they are a nice touch.  Persephone found them tempting enough to get herself stuck six months of the year in the underworld, but I promise there’s no downside for you.

Either way, this turned out to be a great addition to my growing repertoire of hearty salads.  Unlike a green salad, you can make it in quantity and, find that the flavors have improved and melded the next day.  Perfect for stocking your lunchbox for the week, and for not leaving you hungry.   Rabbit food it most definitely is not.

Roasted Squash and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing

Note:  All the ingredients are approximate–tweak and adjust to suit your taste.

  • 2c cubed squash (approximately 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1c brussels sprouts, cut in half
  • 2 t pomegranate molasses
  • 2T apple cider vinegar
  • 6T olive oil
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)

To roast the vegetables, preheat the oven to 425.  Toss the squash with a little olive oil and salt and spread on a rimmed cookie sheet.  Do the same on a second cookie sheet with the brussels sprouts.  Roast for about 20 minutes or until the squash is tender and the sprouts are wilted and even a bit crisp at the edges.

While you are doing this, cook your rice.   I use Saveur’s method, as modified by Pinch my Salt.

Make your vinaigrette:  whisk together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, and a pinch of salt, then whisk the in the olive oil, adding it in a thin stream.  I always mix the vinaigrette in my serving bowl–that way there’s plenty of room to mix the dressing, then I add the salad ingredients.

Allows the the rice, squash, and brussels sprouts to cool slightly, then mix together with the dressing.  Adjust for salt.  Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds if desired.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Winter Squash Salad (1 of 3)

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Celery Anchovy Salad

Celery is a bit of a hard sell–at least when it’s supposed to be the star ingredient.  It’s easy to use a bit here and there minced into a stew or soup, but it tends to languish on the crudite platter or even in the crisper drawer.

Then there’s always that “kid-friendly” recipe,ants on a log” where you slather it with peanut butter and decorate with raisin ants.  Did anyone actually like this, or was it just me who just ate the raisins off, and then (separately) the peanut butter?  (Yeah, I never got the appeal).

To add insult to injury, since celery is so often pushed as the “healthy” or “lo-fat” alternative to chips and nuts, it sometimes smacks of deprivation.

Don’t feel deflated!  I say, dress it up with an anchovy vinaigrette.  The briney, punchy taste of anchovies works wonders on a simple salad comprised of nothing but chilled chopped celery.  It’s a surprising combination that’s fresh and crunchy.  And light without being too virtuous.

Celery Salad with Anchovy Dressing
  • 10 stalks of celery

Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup (60mL) olive oil
  • 2-3 anchovy fillets
  • juice of one lemon or 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • fresh parsley for garnish
Trim and chop the celery, put in a bowl, and cover in cold water. Allow to chill for an hour.

Make the vinaigrette: If you have an immersion blender or similar equipment, combine all vinaigrette ingredients and blend until well emulsified into a golden liquid. Taste it, and add additional salt if needed. (I always add salt after tasting, because anchovies are salty to start with). If you don’t have an immersion blender, chop the anchovies finely (they will eventually become a paste), and mix with the garlic and lemon juice or vinegar. Then drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly to emulsify and combine.

Drain the celery well, and dress with the vinaigrette. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Note:  Allowing the celery to chill in water for at least an hour before dressing it perks it up, ensuring it will be at its freshest and crispest. Make sure to drain it well, or the flavor of your dressing will be unpleasantly watered down.

Note:  This post originally appeared on Honest Cooking