It’s interesting what catches my eye when I am perusing magazines for recipes. I’ve been observing myself for a while and it seems there are three defining factors:
1. I am hungry – a little or a lot, but I never crack a magazine when I’m full.
2. I look for “easy.” If a recipe has two columns of instructions, forget it!
3. I am thinking of the ingredients I have on hand, or mostly have on hand, and what is available and in season at my local grocery store.
Such was the case when I came across a recipe in the May 2013 issue of Bon Appétit: White Been and Radish Salad. A small list of ingredients … most of which I had … and those I didn’t, I knew I could substitute. For example, they asked for anchovy fillets, I had anchovy paste; they asked for 2 cups of parsley, I had about a half-cup of parsley (from my herb garden) and some lovely fresh, crisp romaine; they asked for oil-cured black olives, I had anchovy stuffed olives. Their recipe was larger than I needed, so I would just reduce the quantity of the ingredients. Yep, thank you, Bon Appétit, for inspiring my own version of a white bean and radish salad.
Here’s how this delicious dish came together for me:
Cannellini Bean & Radish Salad
1 inch of anchovy paste (from the tube)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T capers, drained
½ cup parsley (flat leaved or curly), loosely chopped
¼ cup white or red wine vinegar
Sea or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
10 radishes, cut into small wedges
2 scallions, sliced thinly
2 cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, thoroughly rinsed
15 olives (black cured, green pimento or anchovy-stuffed – any olive with a nice salty flavor)
4 leaves of romaine, ribs removed and sliced thinly
Blend the anchovies, oil, capers and parsley in a blender to make a coarse purée. Transfer to a salad bowl, mix in vinegar, salt and pepper.
Add radishes, scallions, beans, olives and romaine to dressing mixture and mix gently but thoroughly. Taste, then add more vinegar, salt and pepper as required.
Serve immediately or chill until needed.
I’ll try the recipe as the magazine suggested if and when I have all the ingredients, but my version was really yummy. I served the salad with one of my Ezekiel flatbread pizzas – this one, spread with goat cheese and topped with caramelized onions and baby portabella mushrooms … all ingredients I had on hand in the fridge and wanted to “use up.”
Goat Cheese, Onion & Mushroom Flatbread Pizza (sorry for the stretched image – my super-fantastic website man is fixing this problem very, very soon.)
I share this revised salad recipe with you to encourage you to do the same. If you see a recipe you think you’d like to try but don’t have all the ingredients, don’t pass it up. Just make it with what you have and substitute the rest. I think this is culinary creativity at its finest. Besides, it’s fun. Do you agree?
Plus … I had some of the bean salad left over and made another awesome, delicious salad with it the next night. So I have to share this recipe so I can share that recipe with you next time!
Eat well. Be happy.