Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cold White Bean & Herb Salad – Mmm, Good Stems!

I’m showing this quick and easy white bean and herb salad for several reasons, not the least of which is to give you a perfectly delicious way to use up the end of that already used once bunch of parsley or cilantro. 

You told yourself you were going to add them to your next stock, forgetting you don’t make stock, and the sheared remains end up in the back of the vegetable crisper where they die a slow, slimy death. Well, this may be the answer.

Both cilantro and Italian parsley have tender stems that pretty much taste exactly like the leaves. By slicing the last half of the bunch thinly, across the stems, you have a perfect addition to any simple, cold bean salad. Besides herb stem recover and utilization, this recipe deserves to be in the rotation for two other very good reasons. It only takes like five minutes to makes, and goes beautifully with any and all of the traditional grilled or barbecued summer meats.

This video also reminds me that you wannabe food snobs need to stop making fun of people that don’t like cilantro. For about 10% of the population, due to certain receptors on the tongue, cilantro tastes nasty, which explains why so many people detest the stuff. The good news is that parsley works even better, so everybody wins.

On a spice note, I used Aleppo pepper here instead of cayenne or pepper flakes, and I hope you do the same. I only discovered this pepper recently, and just love it. It’s hot, but not too hot, and has a bright, fruity flavor I think you’ll really enjoy. Please note: In the video I said it was my new favorite pepper, but I only did that to make cayenne jealous. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
1/2 bunch (the stem end) Italian parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 can (15-oz) white beans, rinsed and drained
3 cloves minced garlic
1 rounded tsp Dijon mustard
salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Aleppo pepper to taste
2 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar (or rice vinegar if you want it a little sweeter)
3 tbsp olive oil