Tuscan Salad

tuscan saladFortunately by the time temperatures rise into the upper 90s in July fresh local produce has started to fill the farmers’ markets and to emerge from the garden. Add some cannellini beans and you have a wonderful cool salad perfect for dinner on a steamy evening. I made the beans from dried in my pressure cooker but canned ones would be fine too. And you could use zucchini in place of the summer squash. While romaine lettuce is traditional, I used red leaf because that is what was available fresh at the market. Enjoy with a cool glass of white wine.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound dried cannellini beans
  • ½ cup fruity olive oil, divided use
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, crushed then minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium summer squash
  • 1 small head lettuce leaves separated
  • Wine vinegar
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 2 or 3 scallions, chopped
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Method

Rinse the beans and pick over for any small stones or discolored beans. Put in the pressure cooker with 4 cups of water. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes or as directed in the instructions that came with your unit. When done, drain and set aside.

Combine ¼ cup of olive oil with the lemon juice and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir into the still-warm beans and set aside to cool. The beans are best at room temperature.

Trim the ends off of the squash and slice lengthwise between ⅛ and ¼ inch thick. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to very hot. Cook the squash for a couple minutes, turning to create nice grill marks, until just softened. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Mix a bit of olive oil and wine vinegar in a bowl and lightly dress the lettuce leaves. Slice the tomato ¼-inch thick.

Arrange the lettuce leaves, squash, and tomato on individual plates or on a serving platter in a pleasing patter. Add the beans to the center of the dish. Garnish with the chopped scallions and dust with the parmesan cheese. Serve at room temperature.

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2 responses to “Tuscan Salad

  1. Karen July 22, 2011 at 12:47

    Your salad looks like a perfect summer meal, especially in this heat.

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