White Bean and Red Pepper Salad with Pine Nut Dressing
- SERVINGS: 8
- 1 1/2 cups dried large white beans, such as white Aztec, gigantes or limas (9 ounces), soaked overnight in cold water and drained
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 large red bell peppershalved lengthwise, cored and seeded
- Vegetable oil, for brushing
- 1/4 cup water
- One 4-inch square of crustless white bread
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup black olives, such as NiÇoise
- In a large saucepan, cover the beans generously with water. Add 1 garlic clove and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until the beans are almost tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and simmer until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes longer. Measure out and reserve 1/4 cup of the bean cooking liquid.
- Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Flatten the red peppers with your hands and brush the skins with oil; arrange skin side up on a baking sheet. Broil 5 inches from the heat for about 8 minutes, or until the skins are blistered and charred in places.
- Transfer the peppers to a plate and stack them to steam and cool. Remove the skins and slice the peppers lengthwise into 1-inch strips.
- In a shallow bowl, pour the water over the bread and set aside for 5 minutes. Coarsely chop the 1 remaining garlic clove. In a food processor, combine the bread with the garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the reserved 1/4 cup of warm bean cooking liquid and puree until the sauce is smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Drain the beans thoroughly. Add them to the sauce along with 2 tablespoons of the parsley; fold them into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the red peppers, olives and the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley and serve.
White beans, roasted peppers and a nutty dressing give this salad plenty of substance. A flavorful white wine with enough acidity to cut the richness would work particularly well. Try one from Spain.