Sunday, August 1, 2010
CRANBERRY BEAN AND HAM SALAD
I also had a ham on hand, intending to make a regional dish that's a staple at my friend Cindie's house: new potatoes, green beans, and cottage ham. As much as I love the flavors of those ingredients together, I'd never actually made that dish, and I could tell from the other end of the phone line that Cindie was shaking her head in disbelief when I asked for her recipe, something so old school she would never have thought to write it down.
I started with Cindie's instructions.
Step #1: Cover the ham with water and cook for 30 minutes. Remove ham so it will cool down and you can cut it up without burning yourself.
Step #2: Cindie said to add green beans to the ham water next and cook until al dente. Instead I added my cranberry beans. After all, what's not to love about the flavor marriage of beans and pork? Depending on how fresh your cranberry beans are, and how high your heat, they'll take 45-90 minutes per Joy of Cooking (my go-to source for reliable info on cooking specific varieties of beans). My cranberry beans took closer to 90 minutes, although I ended up getting them softer than I would have preferred for use in the salad I finally decided on.
Step #3: This was my own little detour, since I had more produce to use up. I roasted onions and yellow tomatoes with thyme.
Step #4: Cindie said to add new potatoes to the ham water, and since I had some of those to use as well, I went right along with her suggestion, using a few potato slices in my salad, and saving some cooked ones for later.
We had a thankful break in the weather that compelled me to turn off the air conditioning, open the windows, and turn on the oven. But as the day went on, I realized I was craving a salad, once again.
I let all the components cool to room temp, then assembled them for this hearty dinner salad, with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I meant to reach for the sherry vinegar instead, but this dish didn't turn out half bad. And I have plenty of leftovers to mix and match in the Eggy test kitchen at a later date.