Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Warm Cannellini Bean and Herb Salad

The most important thing to remember when making this recipe is low, gentle, barely flickering heat. This is not a "hot" bean salad, it's a warm one, and delicate heat preserves the flavor of its ingredients. Quality herbs and olive oil also make a difference—but that low temperature at which the flavors open up without losing their most subtle qualities makes all the difference. Whenever I make it, I never let the flame get above a gentle simmer, allowing the oil, garlic, and green herbs to infuse with each other and become absorbed by the beans.

Otherwise, it couldn't be much gloriously simpler, which is often the case with the recipes of Viana La Place, who offers this recipe in her book Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style. It also tends to be the humble star of the meal, even next to grilled lamb chops or skirt steak or a fillet of salmon—all of which it pairs marvelously with. The addition of oil-cured olives is optional; sometimes I replace them with cooked shrimp to make the recipe into a one-dish meal.

About the author: Blake Royer lives in Brooklyn and spends most of his free time cooking and writing about it here at Serious Eats and on The Paupered Chef. From 9 to 5 weekdays, he works as an assistant book editor in Manhattan.

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