White Beans with Escarole

"I cribbed this salad from my grandmother Nonna," Maria Helm Sinskey says. "She'd toss leftover beans with greens and lemon juice." This version has toasted croutons; the lemon juice is mixed into a refreshing dressing.

Slideshow: More Recipes With Canned Beans

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12

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  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Two 1-inch-thick slices of peasant bread, torn into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups), toasted
  • Two 1-pound heads of escarole, tough dark leaves discarded, inner leaves torn into bite-size pieces

How to make this recipe

  1. In a bowl, combine the shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar. Season with salt and pepper; let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in 6 tablespoons of the oil. Transfer 1/4 cup of the dressing to a bowl, add the beans and parsley and let stand for 30 minutes.

  2. In a skillet, cook the pancetta over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet, then stir in the toasted bread and toss to coat.

  3. Add the bread to the beans with the escarole and remaining dressing. Season with salt and pepper, toss and serve.

Make Ahead

The salad can be prepared through Step 2 up to 4 hours ahead.

Contributed By Photo © Frances Janisch Published December 2006

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