I had cooked up a huge batch, so I needed to come up with something else. And, as I also said last time, because it’s summer, I’ve had access to a bunch of tomatoes. Well, both they went into a food processor for a white bean spread. With a few additional ingredients, this is a flavorful, filling, yet light, snack. It’s also perfect to taking to a picnic or barbecue.
Sometimes you go through your pantry or refrigerator and see a bunch of stuff that you know you have to use or it will go bad. It’s been that way with me and all of these dried beans I realized I had. And since it’s summer, I also find myself with a steady influx of tomatoes.
I’m a whiz at utilitarian cooking. And I say that because it really doesn’t take much to be a whiz at utilitarian cooking. You basically just throw a bunch of stuff you have together and that’s it. And, usually, it works out better than any pre-meditated, planned, plotted, and plated dish you can conjure.
Okay, sometimes it doesn’t work out, but it usually does. I wouldn’t tell you about the stuff that doesn’t work out, anyway.
So, I cooked up a mess of Great Northern beans, added some fresh tomatoes from my mother’s garden, and got this: tomato-y white beans. It’s really simple, so I hope you give it a try.
Tomato-y White Beans
Makes about 6 servings.
1½ cups dried Great Northern beans
2 bay leaves
4 large garlic cloves
½ large onion, sliced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ cup white wine
3 or 4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Fresh herbs (whatever you have available)
Place the beans in a bowl and cover with water by about 3 inches. Cover and soak overnight.The next day, drain the beans and place them in a medium pot. Add water to cover by about 2 inches. Add the bay leaves. Smash two of the garlic cloves and add them to the pot, along with half the onion, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low; partially cover the pot, and simmer until the beans are tender but still firm, about 45 minutes.Drain the beans in a colander and remove the bay leaves and garlic and discard. Finely chop the rest of the garlic.Heat the oil, in a wide pan. Add the rest of the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté one more minute. Add the wine and let it cook until it’s evaporated. Add the tomatoes, the rest of the salt, pepper and sauté 5 minutes.Add the beans, broth, and herbs (I had basil, savory, and parsley), and cook for about 5 minutes, or until it thickens.You’re ready to eat. Have it over rice, pasta, or with crusty bread.
Summer is almost over. Technically, we have until September 22, but the kids are back in school, the stores are already displaying holiday merchandise, and my neighbor’s trees have red leaves in them. As much as I love autumn, I’m always sad when the summer comes to a close. It’s never long enough, is it?
But there’s still time to enjoy some summer activity and summer deliciousness, including the wonderful stone fruit that are still available. And if you grow your own mint, it’s probably out of control by now. Here’s a way to use both: Minty Peach Salsa.
This salsa was inspired by a peach salsa I bought at a farmer’s market in Virginia. I set out to replicate it and made a few modifications to make it a little less sweet and a bit spicier. It’s very simple and perfect for those last summer picnics or barbecues. It also makes a great condiment for grilled veggies, chicken, or fish.
You can substitute the peach with nectarines, plums, or apricots, but I find that peach works the best. It has the right flavor and texture to complement the other ingredients.
Enjoy the salsa and what’s left of summer!
Minty Peach Salsa
Makes about 2 ½ cups.
2 cups chopped peaches
1/3 cup chopped shallot or finely chopped Vidalia onion
¾ cup chopped red pepper
1 small jalapeno, minced
2 tablespoon minced mint
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon spiced rum (optional)
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Refrigerate for an hour before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
2. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary, before serving. Serve with tortilla or pita chips.