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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cannelloni bean salad with roasted garlic and thyme

Thank you, Progresso, for putting your wide variety of beans and soups on super-sale at the Supreme grocery in West Philly. Without you, I may never have thought to buy two cans of white beans, because all I know about white beans I learned from my days as a server at the Olive Garden,where I had to recite the pasta y fagoli ingredients over and over again to tables of suburban housewives and there drooling, obnoxious children. In an effort to get over my food service industry hang-ups [beets, anyone?], I wanted to do up a nice Cannelloni bean salad.

I acquired two large heads of red-leaf lettuce from an event I helped to pull together two weeks ago . Because its February and not exactly salad season, and I was tossing around the idea of sauteeing it, mostly for the laughs. Lettuce? You can cook lettuce?? Oh are such a jokester! I did find a few Chinese-inspired recipes for cooked lettuce, but couldn't bring myself to do it...all due respect my Asian friends! :)

My compromise was a warmish salad, with roasted garlic and red pepper. I have been wanting to try more roasted garlic recipes because I've never had much luck with it. Maybe its because I'm Lebanese and I like my garlic loud and proud, but it is always too subtle to be detected. This salad was still lacking a pronounced garlic flavor, and I wished I used two heads instead of one. Plus, as I scolded my sister who was dousing her bowl with garlic powder and lemon juice, not every salad has to taste like fattouch, difficult as it is for us to understand.

I braved the snow and bounced over to the Reading Terminal after work to pick up some herbs and fancy cheese. Now, as far as cooking goes, I am generally an outside-the-box kind of person. I am first in line to try foods I've never had before, and my idea of adventure sport is hiking to the store to buy fennel bulbs. But when it comes to fancy cheese, I can never bring myself to buy anything but manouri, a rich, creamy sheeps milk cheese from Greece. I know that there is a world of cheeses out there that I'm missing, but I love manouri so much I can't justify spending money on anything that isn't manouri. I only had my credit card, and there was a $10 minimum. I bought a full pound of the stuff without blinking an eye [though now I'm feeling a little guilty about it, because I really can't afford to spend $10 on cheese].

On the other hand, I had no idea that the fresh herbs at Iovines were only a dollar!! I hardly ever use fresh herbs cause I just assume they were expensive [and my dad owns a spice store. Dried herbs are never in short supply]. This is one of those discoveries that will forever change my life. I thought thyme would be nice with the beans, and a chance for my blog to live up to its name.

The salad was great, and got six thumbs up from me and my roommates, which says something because Ann doesn't like beans and Hannah doesn't like peppers.

What I wished I had done:
  • less lettuce, more beans
  • another head of garlic
  • toasting the thyme to give it more flavor? Does anyone know if this works?

Cannelloni bean salad with roasted garlic and thyme

1 large head Red Leaf lettuce
1 large can of Cannelloni beans
2 red peppers, cut into long, meaty strips
2 heads of garlic
1/2 cup red onion
a few marinated artichokes, chopped
fresh thyme to taste
goat cheese, cut into wedges or medallions
sea salt
olive oil
lemon juice

Coat garlic heads in oil and wrap in foil. Roast in the oven at 450. Wash and chop lettuce, combine with onion, artichokes and set aside. Coat the peppers in oil and put them in the oven with the garlic. Drink some wine while you're waiting for them to roast [garlic needs about an hour, peppers need about 40 minutes]. Dip the cheese in a mixture of thyme and sea salt. Once your garlic is done, mix it with the beans and a bunch of finely chopped thyme, douse with a good amount of olive oil and lemon and pour dressed beans onto the salad. Toss well, top with cheese and roasted peppers.


Toothfairyrecipes said...

I have 2 cans of white beans sitting in the cupboard for God knows how long and I never knew what to do with them so thanks for the inspiration:-)
By the way good sense of humour:-)


Julie said...

I love this recipe, I have been eating a lot more beans these days since I have been trying to eat less meat.

*** said...

Glad to hear you guys liked the recipe! Julie...I'm totally going to try the drunken bean recipe on your looks great!