When the sun starts to shine warm and the blossoms begin to burst (finally! It’s been a long winter in these northern parts of the Netherlands.) salads start to take centre-stage rather than being shoved into the wintry shadows as an after-thought. This nutritious bean salad goes great with summery pasta dishes.
Soy sauce and balsamic vinegar lend a Worcestershire sauce character to the salad, so if those two ingredients are not in the pantry, then try a generous slosh of that instead.
300 g (1½ cups) dried black-eyed peas/beans or 800 g (4½ cups) cooked, drained
3 bay leaves
3 medium plum tomatoes (about 300 g). If not, cherry tomatoes (pictured) will do.
¼ medium red onion (¼ cup)
2 teaspoons dried tarragon or 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon lemon zest
75 g (3–4 cups) rucola (arugula)
- Soak the beans overnight, or for six–eight hours. Drain, rinse, put in a pressure cooker, cover with 3 cm (1½ inches) fresh water and add the bay leaves. Lock the lid and place the pot over a high flame. As soon as the pressure is high, turn down to a low flame, and set a timer for five minutes. Release the pressure immediately under a running cold tap. If they are still not tender enough, put the lid back on, bring back to medium pressure for one minute (watch the timer carefully) and release the pressure again under the cold tap. . Remove the lid and allow to cool to room temperature. Drain before adding to the salad.
- Alternatively, put the drained beans into a heavy-bottomed pot, cover with 6 cm (2½ inches) of fresh water and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil over a high flame. Turn down the flame, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Take off the flame, and allow to cool to room temperature. Drain before adding to the salad.
- Prick the plum tomatoes with a sharp knife and place in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and wait for the peel to split, anywhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes. Drain, cover with cold water. Remove the peel. Medium-dice. (If using cherry tomatoes, skip this step and cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters instead.)
- Peel and small-dice the red onion. Place in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water for five minutes to remove their sharpness. Rinse with fresh water and drain.
- Roughly chop the fresh tarragon.
- Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and lemon zest.
- Place the drained black-eyed peas, tomatoes and red onions in a serving bowl, and toss with the dressing and tarragon.
- Just before serving, stir in the rucola leaves.
- Serve with freshly ground black pepper twisted from a pepper mill.