You know how you know a movie's really good because you're still thinking about it several days after leaving the theater? (Or in my case usually, after removing the disc from my dvd player.) Well, it's been that way for me with these beans. I made them for the first time last week and served them as the recipe suggests -- in a shallow bowl with a piece of salmon on top. That meal was fabulous; truly the best thing I've made recently. There were some beans left over and I ate them the next day. I'm still craving these beans, so today I made them again. Really, to make this dish two times in less than one week... well, that has to tell you something.
Only this time around, I am not serving the beans with roasted salmon ( I chose to roast the salmon in the oven instead of grilling on the stovetop). The bean and salmon combination was fantastic; definitely a meal you should consider. But the beans are so wonderful and flavorful on their own, I have no problem serving them alone, along with a skillet of hot cornbread. Dress them up or dress them down. Worthy of a dinner party when pairing with the salmon, or an economical weeknight meal when accompanied by cornbread.
White Beans And Savoy Cabbage
recipe by Frank Stitt
• 1 1/2 cups dry white beans, such as cannelloni (I used Great Northern), soaked in 4
cups water overnight in refrigerator
• 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 1 rib celery, strings removed and coarsely chopped
• 1/4 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 sprigs fresh thyme (I used about 1/4 teaspoon dry)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Drain beans, place in large pot and cover with 2-inches of water. Add chopped vegetables, bay leaf and thyme. Simmer, skimming off any impurities, over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Add salt, stir and continue cooking beans until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool completely, cover and set aside.
• 2 ripe Roma tomatoes
Prepare ice bath. Bring medium pot of water to boil. Gently score an "X" on end of tomatoes opposite the core. Place in boiling water 10 seconds; remove and place in ice bath. When cool, remove tomatoes and peel. Cut in half lengthwise and dice each half into 6 pieces. Set aside.
FOR BACON AND CABBAGE RAGOUT:
• 1/4 pound slab bacon, cut into medium dice
• 1/4 pound head savoy cabbage, julienned
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 ounce sherry vinegar
Place bacon in cold pan; put over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, cook until crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off fat and reserve.
In large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon bacon fat until hot. Add cabbage, stirring over medium heat until warm. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock or water; cook 2 minutes. Add reserved bacon, tomatoes, and drained, cooked beans. Heat through. Before serving, add butter and sherry vinegar; heat until butter melts.
The recipe called for serving the beans with salmon. If you wish to do that you will need:
• 4 wild king salmon fillets, 6 ounces each
• canola oil
• salt and pepper
• freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil to taste
Lightly season stovetop grill with oil, and heat to medium-high. While grill is heating, brush salmon fillets with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place salmon on heated grill and cook 2 minutes; rotate 45 degrees. Cook 2 more minutes, turn salmon fillets over and cook to desired doneness.
Divide Bacon and Cabbage Ragout among 4 shallow bowls. Place salmon on top. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.