For Matthew, dishes are inspired by one ingredient. For me, dishes are inspired by Google searches for “Easter side dishes.” Luckily, Matthew came across a bag of dried corona beans just in time for Easter.
This recipe is so basic to put together and can be made a day or two in advance. It’s the kind of bright dish that will get everyone talking and keep everyone coming back for more.
Dried beans work best for this dish. They do take a bit longer to prepare, but the end result will be worth it. Plus, if you cook a large batch of corona beans, later this week we’ll show you what to do with the rest. If you need to be persuaded to use dried beans in your kitchen, read this article.
Many local health foods stores carry dried corona beans, but you can always order them online at Amazon. They may also hide under the alias of Sweet Runner beans and are a great substititue for the European gigante beans. If you can’t find any, cannellini may be substituted, but it won’t have the gigantic corona’s soft, creamy texture that make them so ideal for salads.
Cilantro, Lemon and Corona Bean Salad
4 cups of cooked corona beans (use 1 1/2 cups of dried beans for this recipe, or cook 2 1/2 cups of dried beans and save the rest for another recipe coming tomorrow!)
4 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
6 radishes, thinly sliced
6 scallions, sliced
1 bunch of cilantro, rough chopped
4 cups or so of baby arugula
juice of 2 lemons
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Soak the corona beans in plenty of water (cover the beans with at least six inches of water) the night before. They will expand while soaking.
When you are ready to cook the beans, drain them and add them to a pot of fresh water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until they are still intact but have a creamy bite. Allow them to cool in the water at room temperature. For detailed instructions on how to cook dried beans, read this article.
Peel the outside of the celery with a vegetable peeler. This removes the stringy pieces that get stuck in your teeth. Cut the celery on the bias about one inch long.
Wash the scallions very well. Slice them, but not too small. You want the light onion flavor in this salad. Scallions aren’t just something pretty that disappears on the top of chili!
Squeeze the juice out of the lemons by cutting them into quarters. You get more juice this way….don’t serve the seeds!
Drain the beans and add four cups of cooked beans to a large bowl. Reserve remaining beans (if you cooked extra) for tomorrow’s recipe.
Toss all ingredients together with the beans. Season with at least a teaspoon of salt and a heavy dose of fresh cracked pepper. Let the salad sit for a couple hours to let the flavor set in.