Monday, July 25, 2011

patio salad

It's too damn hot to cook. Our apartment is hovering around 100 degrees as I type this and the heat has not only killed my desire to get in the kitchen, it's killed my appetite. I just want watermelon, and smoothies, and white wine spritzers. Could you serve those things for a dinner party? Probably not.

But I do have a recipe for you, something I made when it was a downright breezy 85 degrees outside. It's a little dish I found on Food52 (from the blog Cooking After Five) called Patio Salad -- doesn't that sound delightful? It's more of a composed dish than a salad. There's a little tangle of salad greens, some white beans and croutons in pesto, and a little bit of salty prosciutto on the side. It is just the thing you'd want to graze on while you sit on a sun-drenched patio with a glass of white wine, wearing a big, floppy hat. Or in my case, in your hot as hell living room.

The best thing about this plate of food is that it doesn't require much cooking at all, just the simple assembly of a few ingredients. I made toasted croutons for the bean salad, but you could just as easily toss the bread in as-is. Some people may balk at this, but I made it even easier by substituting canned white beans for dried beans that you have to soak, then boil. Sure, the texture of canned beans isn't as nice as the chewy firmness of dried beans, but I couldn't bring myself to put a pot of water on the stove to boil.

I also added a few extra things to spice up that bean salad: some halved cherry tomatoes and a few sliced Kalamata olives. It's the sort of salad you could really change up depending on your mood and what's in the refrigerator. I think marinated artichokes, a sliced bell pepper, or some cubes of fresh mozzarella would be really great.

Add in what you like, toss everything together, plate it prettily, and you'll have dinner done without even breaking a sweat. (Well, maybe just a little.)

Patio Salad

Adapted from Food52. This recipe made a nice dinner for Dan and I, plus lunch for the next day.
(Serves 4 people)

1/2 baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes
Extra virgin olive oil
2 15 oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch basil, about 2 cups
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup sliced almonds (or pine nuts)
1 1/2 lemon, juiced
4 cups salad greens
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Parmesan cheese
Prosciutto

Make the croutons by placing the pieces of bread in a large, wide saucepan. Drizzle generously with oil, and heat over medium heat. Stir the croutons every few minutes, making sure they don't burn. After about ten minutes, remove from the heat and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Set the croutons aside.  
To make the pesto, combine the basil, sliced almonds, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Slowly stream in the olive oil until it's emulsified. Pour the pesto into a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Stir until combined and set aside.

Dress the salad greens with the juice of 1/2 lemon, a few tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toss lightly until the leaves are coated with vinaigrette.

In a large bowl,
combine the beans, pesto, tomatoes, olives, green onions and croutons. Toss to combine. Add salt and pepper, if needed.

Plate the bean salad, along with a handful of salad and a few slices of prosciutto. Top with a little parmesan cheese and serve.

7 comments:

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

Oh, dude, I sub in canned beans all the time. Cannellinis hold up especially well, eh?

blueeyedfreckle said...

looks delicious and refreshing and actually just like the salads they serve in France! you are so hip:)

Daniel said...

Is Patio Salad like floor pie?

Mmm...patio salad...

Nicole @cookingafterfive said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! It's one of my summer favorites.

Lisa said...

GFS: Really? You strike me as a dried beans-only type.

Blueeyedfreckle: Ha, thanks!

Daniel: Eww...hopefully not off of our dirty floors.

Nicole: Thanks for the recipe--I really loved it.

offset patio umbrellas said...

That looks delicious:)

Jennifer Thomas said...

I remember when we tried cooking this recipe and ate it in our living room. I swear this recipe is perfect while watching a movie in your living room.

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