Tuesday, July 3, 2012

White Bean and Artichoke Salad

It’s time for America to celebrate her Independence once again!

As in the past, Doug and I have been invited to celebrate with friends, Hap and Elaine, who throw a July 4th bash every other year. Their theme this time around is ‘multi-ethnicity’ to honor the throngs of people who have entered the United States, the melting-pot nation, for a better way of life.
Each guest was asked to bring an ethnic side dish to complement their meal. I decided to make a white bean-artichoke salad – not an Armenian dish, but one from a Williams-Sonoma hand out that sounded sort-of Armenian and really tasty. I altered it a wee-bit to suit my taste preferences.
White Bean and Artichoke Salad

White Bean and Artichoke Salad                                                         Serves 6-8
Ingredients for the dressing:
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. Aleppo red pepper (a dash of cayenne pepper can be substituted)
1 tsp. ground fennel seed, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions for the dressing:
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside for at least 30 minutes before using.
 NOTE:  If you prefer, you can used a commercially prepared vinaigrette dressing of your choice.


Ingredients for the salad:
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted, and oven-roasted, if desired (see directions)
2 (15 oz.) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, diced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
Garnish: 3 Tbsp. fresh mint or basil, cut into thin strips, or chopped parsley

Directions for the salad:
1. For a more intense artichoke flavor, coat the artichoke hearts with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes at 375°F. Otherwise, simply use the thawed artichoke hearts as-is.

2. In a large bowl, combine the artichokes, beans, shallots, onion, and celery.
3. Toss the dressing into the bean mixture, coating evenly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Just before serving garnish the top with strips of fresh mint or basil, or parsley.

NOTES:
1. This recipe can be made a day ahead.
2. Canned/jarred artichokes may be used instead of frozen. If you select marinated artichokes, the marinade can act as the dressing.


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