In the classic version of this Italian salad, beans are slow-cooked until uniformly softened. In this interpretation, multiple varieties are plunged briefly into boiling water until almost tender yet still crisp, to emphasize their exceptionally fresh taste, color, and texture.
Martha Stewart Living, July 2007
- Yield Makes about 6 cups
- 6 cups water
- 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 piece (1/2 inch) cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 oregano sprig
- 3/4 pound fresh cranberry beans, shelled (about 1 cup)
- 4 ounces haricots verts (green, yellow, or a combination), trimmed
- 4 ounces green beans, trimmed
- 4 ounces wax beans, trimmed
- 4 ounces flat Italian beans (green, yellow, or a combination), trimmed
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Make the beans: Stir together water, 2 teaspoons salt, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and oregano in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add cranberry beans. Return to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.
- Prepare an ice-water bath. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add remaining tablespoon salt. Working with one variety at a time, blanch remaining beans in boiling water until crisp-tender (about 1 1/2 minutes for haricots verts; 2 1/2 minutes for larger beans). Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Drain.
- Make the dressing: Whisk together mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add vinegar, and whisk until sugar has dissolved. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Whisk in red-pepper flakes and herbs.
- Add beans to dressing, and toss. Let stand at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours, tossing occasionally, or marinate in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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