These beans are a cinch to make yet they’re loaded with complex flavor. The tomatoes, onions and garlic cook down slowly, together in the pan, while the beans steam on top. You may be tempted to stop cooking before the beans turn olive green. Resist. Crisp, bright-colored, barely-cooked beans aren’t the only way to go. So keep on cooking, you’ll be rewarded if you do.
A bottled jar each of basil pesto and roasted peppers turns this dish into an easy weeknight meal. But if you feel inclined, it’s always better to make your own. Roasting peppers is as simple as lightly coating seeded bell pepper halves with olive oil and cooking skin-side down at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. If you want, place the roasted peppers into a covered bowl for 10 minutes to steam, then remove the skins. Otherwise, just chop, with the skins on.
The combination of ingredients here is easy to love—a bowl full of pure comfort. That just happens to make use of summer’s finest produce.
We’ve been compiling a list of summer cooking projects all year. Not our ordinary fare, the summer list involves any or all of the following: complex methods that require additional research and secondary sources including calls to grandmas and other expert cooks; Google searches to translate mysterious ingredients into plain English and pinpoint local suppliers (usually unexplored ethnic or specialty markets—a side bonus); kneading; equipment that’s tucked away in the garage (and requires a stepladder to reach) or borrowed; painstaking stirring and long stretches of waiting; pastry flour; squash blossoms; stone fruit and berries; sweet treats.
This is a wonderfully loose recipe that can be adapted for the ingredients on hand. Add canned drained beans like kidney or cannellini for a twist or use scallions in place of the onion. If you’re looking to turn this into an easy main dish, add some drained canned tuna and quartered hard-boiled egg on top. You can vary the herbs—add some parsley or chives if you like. I love the dill, and it’s what really makes it special.
We love to mix up this salad when our garden overflows with beans or we’ve received a big bag in our weekly delivery from the farm. We vary the ingredients depending on what else is ready for harvest—tomatoes of all sorts, perhaps a sweet bell pepper. A variety of fresh herbs are always nice—basil, dill, parsley or a combination—if you don’t have arugula. A teaspoon of perky Dijon mustard added to the dressing is wonderful too.