Asparagus, Greens and Beans with Tapenade Toasts
- ACTIVE: 40 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR plus overnight soaking
- SERVINGS: 4
This salad is fun and satisfying to eat because it offers such a range of textures and flavors—creamy, crispy, tangy, sweet. A vinaigrette infused with shallot and fresh thyme dresses celadon-hued French flageolet beans, arugula leaves, watercress and asparagus spears; crunchy toasts with piquant green-olive tapenade get served alongside the salad.
- 3/4 cup dried flageolet beans (5 1/2 ounces), soaked overnight in cold water and drained
- 1 small onion, halved
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 thyme sprig, plus 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon very finely chopped shallot
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 25 pitted green olives
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
- 1 1/4 pounds asparagus
- Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of baguette, cut on the diagonal and lightly toasted
- One 5-ounce bunch of arugula, thick stems discarded and large leaves torn in half
- One 4-ounce bunch of watercress, thick stems discarded
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, combine the flageolet beans, onion halves, bay leaf and thyme sprig. Add cold water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the beans cool in their liquid for at least 30 minutes. Drain the beans. Discard the onion, bay leaf and thyme.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the white wine vinegar with the chopped shallot and the thyme leaves. Whisk in the mustard, then gradually whisk in 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
- In a mini food processor, combine the olives with the capers and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pulse until finely chopped. Season the tapenade with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus spears until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the asparagus under cold running water, then pat thoroughly dry.
- Toss the beans with 3 tablespoons of the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Spread the green olive tapenade on the baguette toasts. Arrange the arugula and watercress in the center of four plates. Top with the beans and asparagus spears. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the greens and asparagus and serve with the tapenade toasts.