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.
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3/4 cup dried flageolet beans (5 1/2 ounces), soaked overnight in cold water
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
One 5-ounce bunch of arugula, thick stems discarded and large leaves torn in
One 4-ounce bunch of watercress, thick stems discarded
How to Make It
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.
The cooked flageolet beans and green olive tapenade can be refrigerated separately overnight; drain the cooked beans before chilling. Bring the flageolet beans to room temperature before assembling the salad.
One Serving 543 Calories, 35 gm Total Fat, 4.2 gm Saturated Fat, 47 gm Carbohydrates, 9 gm Fiber.
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