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A warm bean salad on greens

March 26, 2009|By LYNNE ROSSETTO KASPER / Scripps Howard News Service

Save yourself a fair amount of dollars, and keep the convenience. Skip bagged lettuce. Instead, buy the lettuces you like by the head. Buy enough for a week.

This is what you need to know: Greens and many other vegetables keep best if you eliminate moisture and oxygen. Salad greens will hold a week. So once a week soak your fresh greens about 20 minutes in a sink full of ice water. Next, get them as dry as possible in a salad spinner or by rolling them up in cloth towels. Then stuff them into heavy freezer bags with a paper towel to wick up any excess moisture. Press all the air out and seal the bag. Refrigerate until you need a salad.

With the greens taken care of, why not try this warm beans salad on greens? You roll canned beans around in a balsamic dressing and spoon them over those greens waiting in the refrigerator. With the beans, this is a salad supper warming enough for now.

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WARM BALSAMIC BEAN SALAD ON LETTUCE



Serves 2 to 4 and doubles easily.

Dressing:

1/3 cup good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium to large onion, thinly sliced
4-inch branch fresh rosemary, or a generous teaspoon dried whole-leaf rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
4 large cloves garlic, diced
Pinch hot pepper flakes
1/4 cup vinegar (wine or cider)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 14-ounce cans of cannellini or pinto beans, rinsed and drained

Salad:

6 large handfuls of washed and dried mixed salad greens
1 stalk celery with leaves, thinly sliced
4 ounces of Asiago, Fontinella or Manchego, shredded (optional)

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, rosemary, salt and a generous amount of pepper. Saute 2 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the water, garlic and hot pepper. Bring to a very gentle bubble, cover the pan and cook 3 minutes or until garlic is soft. Don't let it brown, and be careful not to get spattered by the water. Stir in the vinegars and the beans, and set aside.

When you're ready to eat, spread the salad greens over a large platter. Scatter the celery, and cheese, if using, over them. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the bean mixture, uncovered, in the skillet just until it's warm. Spoon it over the salad. Serve immediately. A grainy bread is good with this.

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