>> Monday, August 24, 2009
I know I'm not being original (am I ever?) with my proposal today, but this weather prevents me from thinking hard... and also nobody feels like having anything remotely warm. I can't even think of using the oven. I've been wanting to bake bread for some days, but I don't even dare because when the kitchen is over 90 ºF my brain malfunctions. And let's not talk about elaborate recipes... I don't remember the last time I felt so lazy. On the other hand, this dish is a very lovely option to eat pulses in the summer, a very important part of the Mediterranean diet. Beans, chickpeas and the like are cooked in stews during cold weather, with lots of meat, Spanish ham and chorizo, only this type of dish is not exactly what you feel like eating right now...
So this is a very simple and traditional recipe, only somewhat tweaked with a special vinaigrette. It's a good chance to use up some of the beans I brought from my holiday in Asturias, called "cena del cura" beans, meaning "priest's supper". I brought with me loads of beans and chickpeas. Yes, it's time to stock up with food for the winter.
Bean and smoked salmon salad
You know I love to pretend I'm original, so I decided to make a different vinaigrette from the classical Spanish one, with just olive oil, plain vinegar, garlic and minced green pepper. I opted for a mustard vinaigrette. I love their sweet-sour touch. I found this vinaigrette delicious, in spite of the sickly colour resulting from the mixture of the yellow mustard and the brown balsamic vinegar... ahem. Serious, the color looks so unhealthy that I didn't dare to take a picture. I didn't want you to think that I added motorcycle oil to the salad. The amounts for the vinaigrette yield a fair amount of mixture, while the weight of beans corresponds to only 2 servings (of course my kids wouldn't even get near the salad). Adjust both to the number of guests.
Well, leave the beans to soak overnight, this makes the boiling much shorter. The next day put them in a pot with cold water and bring them to a boil, along with a couple of cloves of garlic and a bay leaf, as long as needed to tenderize the beans. The boiling time will depend on the kind of bean and its freshness. Then put off the heat and leave them aside to cool while you prepare the vinaigrette. You can salt the beans at the end or at mid-boiling. Mix all the vinaigrette ingredients except the salt. Mix thoroughly, till all the oil is emulsifyed. I like the mayonnaise-like consistency of mustard vinaigrettes. Lastly add the salt little by little, tasting to adjust. The color and sweetness of this vinaigrette, added to the beans, reminded me of baked beans. It's a pity that these beans lose their nice yellow color after boiling.
But... what I really loved about cooking this dish: to use my brand new pastry rings for the setting... wow! Such a beautiful thing. Mix the beans with the vinaigrette in a bowl, with as much dressing as you prefer, and stir well. Put the ring on the plate (I oiled the inside, I'm not sure it's necessary) and then... what an excitement! Pour half the vinaigrette beans inside. Nicely lay the smoked salmon on top, cut in whatever size you prefer. Then flatten the assembly slightly, lift the ring... et voilà! These simple pleasures make me so happy... :-)