Weber’s Art of the Grill has fabulous side dishes. I wanted to make this cannellini bean salad, though what it accompanies in the book – a marinated rack of lamb – is normally too pricey and too much work (i.e. going to buy it, when I already have kebab chunks in the freezer) so I just make marinated kebabs to go with the bean salad.
The lamb is from a Costco New Zealand boneless leg, which I buy and then cut into kebab chunks, then freeze in appropriate batches. I defrosted two 6-chunk packets this morning, and marinated them in the fridge for maybe 4 hours (after defrosting) in the juice of half a lemon, maybe slightly less than that of olive oil, and leaves from a few branches from our thyme plants. I put them on skewers at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before grilling, salted well on both sides, and grilled on high for 3 minutes on a side, covered.
The bean salad has 1 cup cannellini picked over, rinsed, soaked (quick version, in 4 cups water), then simmered till done in 4 cups chicken stock (I used Swanson’s, which I like) with a quartered small onion, a carrot, peeled and cut in 2″ lengths, 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, and a celery stalk. This took something like 2 hours today. Maybe the cannellini are getting old – not sure. Some were still a bit on the almost-crunchy side, though 1 1/2 hours of cooking has been plenty in the past. The cooked beans are mixed with 1 cup diced tomatoes (I used 1 1/2 of the two tomatoes that have been sitting on our windowsill), 1/2 cup sliced olives, black or green (I used Kalamatas, which I bought at the Bowl for this purpose, not being able to get non-acidic picholines that were pitted), 1/4 cup of olive oil, and 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar. This is served at room temperature.
I decided we needed a green veggie, but was uninterested in getting civilized enough to run to the Bowl, so used what I had on hand – a bag of sugar snap peas on sale. I took off their ends and pulled off one stringy edge, then sauteed them in unsalted butter for … too long. 3 minutes would have been plenty. Near the end, I tossed in 3 of our (=huge) mint leaves, cut into small pieces. I think a bit less would work – maybe one leaf per serving?
This was a “Christmas” dinner – my gift of wine-of-the-month, personally chosen by D, happens somewhat randomly, according to the level of madness in our lives. This is the May one. D brought up a Calstar Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (2007), which was its usual excellent self.
I bought a couple of those flattened, Asian peaches at the Bowl the other day, and thought the taste of the first one to ripen was too delicate for serving with Grape Nuts. When the second ripened today, I kept it for eating on its own, and then served it up as dessert tonight. It was excellent!
We reran the polenta meal for lunch, grilling the last slabs as for dinner. We didn’t have a lot of bean salad left oer, but did have some of D’s excellent salsa, with corn, even, so we had that with the polenta, too. The remainder of the poblano D cut up and heated with some of the rest of the canned corn, and we had a good ale to drink. Great lunch!