Friday, 9 September 2011

Inslata Caprese with Fresh Pigna Beans

If you can't find fresh Pigna beans just use any fresh white bean that's available where you are or use dried ones if you can't find fresh.  Please, promise me you won't use canned beans...

Serves 4

1  3/4 cups (220g) shelled Pigna beans, about 420g in the pod
2 cups small plum, datterini, or cherry tomatoes
1 large Mozzarella di Buffala
5 teaspoons of olive oil, preferably a fruity one from Liguria
black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
fleur de sel
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
10 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces


1.  Shell the beans and boil them in salted water (2 teaspoons per 4 cups (1 litre)) until tender, about 25-30 minutes.  If you are using dried beans you should cover them in water and soak them over night.  Next day boil them until tender.  

 2.  While the beans are cooking, blanch and peel the tomatoes.  

Place the tomatoes in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. After 2 minutes, drain and cover them with cold water and a few handfuls of ice.  Let them sit for about 5 minutes and then drain them.  Using a knife, cut a small slice off the stem end and pull the skins off.  They should slip off easily.  If not, repeat the blanching process from the beginning.

Slice the peeled tomatoes in half, lengthwise if you're using plum tomatoes, and toss them in 1 teaspoon of olive oil, a pinch of fleur de sel and then add the torn basil leaves.  Set aside.

3.  Once the beans are cooked, drain them and while they are still warm, mix in about 2 teaspoons olive oil, a few grinds of coarsely ground black pepper and the minced garlic. Add salt and lemon juice to taste .  Mix well and set aside.  Once the beans have cooled completely, stir in the parsley.  Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

4.  Slice the Mozzarella di Buffala in any bite-sized shape you wish. I cut mine this way:  slice it lengthwise in half and then slice each half lengthwise into four wedges.  Cut the wedges crosswise into 6 pieces.  You should have 48 bite sized pieces.  Add the mozzarella to the tomatoes and toss to coat with the liquids in the bowl.  Adjust seasonings.

5.  Divide the salad and beans amongst the 4 plates as arrange as you wish.  Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and sprinkle each serving with a bit of fleur de sel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this! I have been looking for a recipe for my Pigna beans ever since we got back from our trip down there a few months ago. This is perfect.