Cannellini Beans and Sauté Green Salad with roasted Red Bell Pepper
This salad is from an Italian inspiration with its white Italian beans characteristic of Tuscan cuisine. Its main trait of distinction is that it is a green, wilted warm salad. I often serve it with grilled, lemon/garlic marinated chicken thighs and topped with capers—and even lemon butter on top to splurge on what remains a relatively low-calorie dish. At the same time, I grill chicken, and I roast a red bell pepper on the flame. I peel the bell pepper when it’s still warm and cut it into strips and toss it in olive oil, garlic, fresh thyme and basil plus a bit of paprika to intensify the smokiness of the roasted bell pepper. The bell pepper is optional but brings greater life to greens and beans.
If you have a salad that is a bit aged (but still good), it is a good recipe to utilize as imperfections of the greens will blend in after sautéing them. It is also a good recipe with some kales thrown in, which give different shades of greens. Sometimes when I have some grapes tomatoes I add them to the mix at the end.
8-10 oz Romain or Escarole (about 2 medium size heads): clean and chop coarsely
Garlic: 3 cloves, crushed
Olive oil: up to 4 tablespoons
Black pepper: to taste
Cannellini beans, cooked: 12 oz
Cane vinegar or red wine vinegar: 1 + 2 to 3 table spoons in hot pan
Red bell pepper: 1 roasted and cut into 1/8-inch-wide strips.
Thyme, destemmed: 1 tablespoon
or Basil finely chopped: 2 teaspoon or a mix of Thyme and basil.
In a minimal amount of olive oil on medium heat, cook crushed garlic till lightly blond—about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add chopped salad and on low heat toss salad with more oil in order to coat all leaves.
Continue cooking and tossing salad for about 2-3 minutes till leaves start to wilt. Greens should get brighter and still have a crunch.
Add Cannellini beans and cook till warm.
Mix in 1 tablespoon vinegar, taste and adjust salt and pepper.
Pour in serving bowl.
Using the same pan, reduce on medium heat 3 tablespoons of vinegar to a third. Let cool.
Mix reduced vinegar in salad. Add red bell pepper keeping a few strips for garnish and toss in fresh herbs. Spread salad on a sheet pan if you want it to cool further.
Serve in a large salad bowl or individual plates garnished with red bell pepper strips.
Served warm, it is also excellent refrigerated as a cool leftover the next day.