April 23, 2009

Fennel & Three Bean Salad

15 oz cannelloni beans
15 oz dark red kidney beans
1/4 to 1/3 lb steamed or blanched green beans
1/2 onion, sliced very thinly
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced very thinly

for the dressing:
1 (large) clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil

Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients or pulse them quickly in a blender or Vita-Mix)until a emulsified dressing forms. Drizzle over the salad ingredients and toss gently. I like to allow it to sit for 1 or so hours before serving. Serve at room temperature and refrigerate any leftovers.

My thoughts:
I've been thinking about three bean salads for a while now. I read a mention of one on a nonfood blog I read and vaguely remembered my mother eating a(jarred) three-bean salad when I was a child. I sort of remember it being sweet & pickley and not liking it. I still wasn't sure about the sweet + pickled part of it but a salad made with my favorite beans was appealing. I noticed I had some fennel slowly decomposing in the fridge so on impulse I sliced it up (and my finger on my mandolin, ow) and it really was the perfect addition. Rather than going down the sweet and pickled route I made a very fresh tasting Italian-inspired vinaigrette. I think this might be my new favorite cold salad: simple, delicious and rather impressive looking.

Update: I am happy to say that the salad was just as tasty today as lunch as it was yesterday as a side dish for dinner.