With Labor Day potlucks coming up this weekend I've been on the lookout for a new side dish recipe--preferably one that I can make ahead, transport easily, and is so tasty that it will be all gone by the time I'm ready to take my dish and go home.
Below is Food52's answer--a bean salad salad that holds well and can be served at whatever temperature you so desire...
*Recipe from Food52 Mighty Salads
Serves 4 | From Emily Connor
To make salads better, a normal impulse is to add more ingredients, but instead of crowding your grocery cart, coax everything you want from one vegetable. It’ll be a superhero, and you: scrappy. Here, fennel is shaved and broiled with whole lemon slices and diced raw for crunch, while its fronds stand in for herbs. Once mixed with beans (canned if you want to eat in 15 minutes) and lemon dressing, you’ll have a salad that’ll keep for days. Fennel, you look good with a red cape on.
2 fennel bulbs with fronds
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups (540g) cooked white beans (such as cannellini, Great Northern, or an heirloom variety)
1⁄2 cup (70g) pitted Castelvetrano olives, halved
1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Remove the fennel fronds, coarsely chop, and set aside. Remove the tough, outer layer of the fennel bulbs, then halve each bulb lengthwise and core. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice one and a half fennel bulbs lengthwise. Finely dice the remaining half bulb.
- Cut one of the lemons into half-moons. Discard the seeds. Juice the remaining lemon and set aside.
- Heat the broiler with an oven rack 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13cm) from the flame. Toss togeher the sliced fennel, sliced lemon, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and spread the fennel and lemon slices in a single layer. Broil, shaking the baking sheet once or twice, until the fennel is tender and lightly charred in spots, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Toss the cooked beans with the broiled fennel and lemon, the raw fennel, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the olives, 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or to taste), red pepper flakes, and fennel fronds. Season with salt and pepper. (The salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.) Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.
How to Soak Your Beans, Stat
If you wanted to soak your dried beans, like, yesterday, all hope isn’t lost. Put the beans in a pot and cover them with 1 inch (2.5cm) of water. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the beans soak for an hour. Drain and continue as if you’d planned to quick-soak your beans all along.