Five-Bean Salad

6 cups

In the classic version of this Italian salad, beans are slow-cooked until uniformly softened. In this interpretation, the beans are blanched quickly, to emphasize their fresh taste, color, and texture.


For the beans

  • 6 cups water

  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon coarse salt

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 piece (½ inch) cinnamon stick

  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • 1 oregano sprig

  • ¾ 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

For the dressing

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • ¼ cup red-wine vinegar

  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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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