Market Bean Salad, Aged White Cheddar Cheese, and Walnut-Bacon Vinaigrette
Chef Nicholas Ciccone
Restaurant Associates at Google
Mountain View, Calif.
Chef Nicholas Ciccone of Restaurant Associates combines seven varieties of fresh, seasonal beans in this salad, creating a colorful and wilt-free addition to a picnic spread or barbecue. Toss with the bacon-walnut vinaigrette right before serving or do ahead and keep chilled in a cooler.
4 oz. applewood smoked bacon, diced in ¼-in. pieces
1 oz. shallots, cut into rings
4 oz. walnut halves or pieces
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 oz. apple cider vinegar
2 oz. walnut oil
Kosher salt, to taste
3 oz. haricots vert
3 oz. yellow wax beans
3 oz. green romano beans
3 oz. yellow romano beans
3 oz. cranberry beans, fresh or dried and cooked
3 oz. purple string beans, purple
6 oz. fava beans
Coarse sea salt, to taste
Aged white cheddar cheese, shaved
Heirloom cherry tomatoes
Coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
Edible flowers or fresh herbs
- Prepare walnut-bacon vinaigrette: Over low to medium heat, slowly render bacon until golden and most of the fat has been cooked out. Do not cook until the bacon is crispy and crunchy; it should remain moist, supple and a bit chewy. Remove bacon from pan and set aside.
- Slowly sweat shallots in bacon drippings until tender. Coarsely chop walnuts and add to shallots, along with reserved bacon. Add black pepper to taste; mix well to combine. Remove pan from heat and stir in cider vinegar. Be sure to scrape any bits of bacon, shallot or walnuts from bottom of pan.
- Finish with walnut oil, then taste vinaigrette for acidity, salt and balance of flavor. Adjust as needed with kosher salt, more vinegar or oil. Set aside until needed.
- For salad, blanch each type of bean separately in a large pot of boiling salted water and then shock in ice water, leaving purple string beans and fava beans as last two to blanch and shock.
- Once beans are completely cooled, drain. Cut haricot vert, yellow wax and purple string beans on a bias into halves; cut romano beans on a bias into thirds. Peel and split fava beans and reserve separately.
- In large bowl, combine all beans except favas; season with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Give vinaigrette a good stir and generously spoon over beans. Add cheese and gently toss to combine, evenly coating beans with dressing. Fold in cherry tomatoes and fava beans; taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- To serve, liberally sprinkle each portion with chopped toasted walnuts and a few additional shavings of cheese. Garnish with edible flowers or herbs.
Photo courtesy of California Walnuts