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barlotti bean salad

October 26, 2009


Many times when I’m in the USA on business, I try to piggy back off the trip for at least a short while to see the people I miss the most.  This time around I managed a short, but wonderful 36 hours in Boulder, CO (sounds like I’m plugging the NY Times Travel section).  Boulder seemed like an English-speaking version of Switzerland.  The mountains, the markets, the clean air–I loved it!  It didn’t hurt that their Whole Foods made me cry a little out of joy.  After the obligatory trips to Target and Barnes and Noble, we stopped at a little shop for sandwiches.  My sandwich was fantastic, but what seemed to really steal the show was the simple yet delightful white bean salad on the side.  I’m pretty sure they used Rancho Gordo beans, but I can’t be positive.  Good company and good food, this is what travel is all about.

Since the Barlotti beans seem to still be going strong at the market and I can’t resist just how darn pretty they are, I picked up some up to shell and tried to recreate the salad at home.  While the result was not quite what I remember, it was good nonetheless.   I used rosemary in this recipe,  but in the future, I may go a little lighter on the how much I use and possibly go with basil instead. That’s the beauty about this recipe is that you can do whatever you want with it.  Play around it…who said beans couldn’t be fun?

Barlotti bean salad with feta
1/2 kilo (1 lb) barlotti beans (or any whitish shelling bean around)
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (more to taste)
1 bay leaf
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste

1.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add bay leaf and shelled beans.
2.  Cook for 25-30 minutes or until tender.   Note: I’ve made this a few times now and it seems like they are perfect right at the 30 minutes mark.
3.  Drain and allow to cool for a few minutes.
4.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt.
5.  Add everything else (rosemary, onions and cheese).

Serve as a side to sandwiches or even as the main for lunch.  I like this salad cold, and find that if it sits over night the flavors melt together better.  With that said, it’s also good at room temperature, so if you can’t wait…dig in!

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