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Flageolet salad with roast tomatoes

(Jeff Parker for The Boston Globe)
September 23, 2009

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Serves 6

Flageolets, the quintessential French legume, are the young delicate seeds of haricot beans gathered and shelled while they’re a pale shade of ivory-green. In this dish, the dried beans are soaked overnight, then cooked and tossed with sweet red onion, dry-cured black olives, garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil, and white wine vinegar. (You can also use the quick-soak method given here.) Garnish the dish with roast tomatoes to add some flavor from the south of France. Spoon the salad beside juicy lamb chops or slices from a roast leg of lamb, or serve it as a weekend lunch with crusty bread, an aged local cheddar, and a bowl of crisp apples.

1 pound dried flageolets
3 quarts water
6 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup pitted dry-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped parsley
4 leaves fresh basil, torn up

1. In large bowl, combine beans with enough water to cover them by several inches (not the water from the ingredient list). Alternatively, place beans and plenty of water in large saucepan and bring to bowl. Turn off heat and let sit for 1 hour.

2. Set oven at 400 degrees. In a baking dish, set the tomatoes, cut sides up. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 1 hour or until tomatoes are soft and slightly wrinkled.

3. Drain and rinse the beans. In a soup pot, combine the beans with the 3 quarts of water. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat. Continue cooking for 45 minutes or until the beans are tender. Drain beans and let cool slightly.

4. In serving bowl, combine beans with onion and olives. Sprinkle with garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss gently. Add the parsley and basil. Toss again.

5. Garnish with roast tomatoes. Allison Boomer