Turning the oven on to cook when it is blazing hot outside is not fun; especially when you live in an apartment without air conditioning. That’s me! Unlike in the U.S., where every building is an ice box during the summer and you have to dress like it’s the middle of the winter, many Italian houses and apartments don’t have air conditioning. It’s not really too bothersome as I like to feel what season I am in, however, on on those super sticky, hot days, like today, when even typing on the computer makes you sweat, I opt for easy salad meals. A hunk of some crusty semolina bread, a hefty slice of good cheese, a glass of chilled, crisp white wine and it’s dinner. Plus, since it is on the lighter side, I have room for a good gelato ;). You can’t beat that!
The cannellini beans are the perfect accompaniment to the green beans as they lend a creamy and rich texture to the salad and make it more substantial to eat as a stand alone meal. It is also a great side to grilled fish, a piece of chicken or even steak. You can’t really go wrong with it. If you want to jazz it up even more you could throw in some fresh roasted corn kernels or even a few grape tomatoes.
The herbs of choice I like to use are flat leaf parsley, dill, and mint, but you can certainly use any combination of herbs that you like. If you can’t find pine nuts or don’t like them, sliced almonds are a good alternative.
- 1 fourteen ounce can of cannellini beans, drained, rinsed, and dried
- 6 ounces (170 grams) green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons capers
- ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- ¼ chopped mint leaves
- ¼ chopped dill
- 1 to Tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 to 2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ good olive oil
- parmesan cheese shavings; to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook green beans in boiling water until tender crisp; making sure not to over cook. Drain and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Drain again and dry on a clean kitchen towel.
- In a large bowl, toss together the dried and rinsed cannelloni beans, green beans, capers, chopped parsley and mint, lemon zest, and pine nuts with the olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.
- I Just before serving, I like to top the salad with parmesan cheese shavings. I simply use a vegetable peeler to shave off ribbons of the cheese.