Cannellini Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Roasted Tomatoes
This a sophisticated bean salad with the warm Mediterranean flavours of lemon, olive oil, rosemary, balsamic vinegar and delicate Parmesan cheese shavings. It may cause even the most curmudgeonly bean-salad haters to change their minds on bean salads.
- Start your oven heating to 200 C / 400 F / Gas Mark 6.
- Shave the Parmesan; set aside covered under a bowl or plastic wrap.
- Peel and chop the onion and put in a small bowl.
- Chop the rosemary, and peel and chop the garlic and set aside in a small bowl.
- Wash the cherry tomatoes, cut each in half, and put in a medium-sized bowl. Toss gently with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on a cookie sheet, and roast in the heated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside to cool.
- While the tomatoes are in the oven, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic, rosemary and half the onion, and cook over a gentle heat just until the onion is soft. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar, then the beans and stir gently. Set aside to cool.
- When the beans have cooled, stir into them the remaining uncooked chopped onion, and freshen with the juice from 1/2 lemon. Season to taste with some salt and pepper.
- Tip the beans into the bowl that you had tossed the tomatoes in, or into a fancier serving bowl. Scatter the Parmesan shavings on top of them, then arrange the roasted tomatoes on top of that. If you wish, you can garnish with a tidge more chopped fresh rosemary.
- Serve room temperature.
- You can make this up to a day in advance and store covered in refrigerator; just set out to warm back up to room temperature before serving.
Cannellini beans are what Italians call white kidney beans. 3 cups (18 oz / 500 g) of white kidney beans is what you will end up with from 2 x 400 g / 15 oz tins, drained and rinsed. If you prefer to cook up your own white kidney beans, you'll want to cook up 1 cup (8 oz/ 225 g) of dried white kidney beans to end up with 3 cups (18 oz / 500 g) of cooked, drained beans. The ones in the tin tend to be cooked much softer, so if you are using them, stir the salad gently. You can cheat and buy your fresh Parmesan already shaved at some better quality grocery stores. Two ounces (60g) really is enough; it's just meant to be an accent flavour. Instead of cherry tomatoes, you can use grape tomatoes, or regular size tomatoes cut in half, then each half quartered, then each quarter cut in half. Instead of 2 small red onions, you can use 1 large red onion. Or any type of onion.
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