I know I'm strange. I like weird things like fish sauce and smoked salmon and whitefish salad and pickled herring and gefilte fish and all those things that make the majority of the population go Ewwww. Oh and I can't forget anchovies. I'm pretty much sold if a dish has anchovies in it. Salad Nicoise remains one of my favorite dishes to order. It stems from my childhood, on nights when my father had to work late and my mom and I created large platters with stacks of seared tuna, green beans, hard boiled egg, olives and anchovies (the latter two are on my dad's list of despised foods, hence why we made it when he wasn't around). If I had a last meal... you know, if we were playing that game where we said what we'd want our last meal to be if we were on death row... that salad would be on the list (along with sushi, cheesecake, linguini with clam sauce, and a warm, freshly baked baguette served with a wedge of triple creme cheese). I just can't get enough of the textures, the bright flavors, and the depth that the anchovies bring to the salad.
On the day that I made this dish, I did my very best to save some for dinner. However, my will power failed me and half the bowl quickly disappeared, which is often the case in these situations. As wonderful as this is on its own, or would be paired with roasted salmon, I can attest that it works when tossed with pasta, served hot or cold. No matter what you do with it, though, you can't go wrong.
Bean Salad with Lemon-Anchovy Dressing
serves 4 as side dish
1 1/2 lbs green beans, rinsed and ends trimmed
1 - 16 0z can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 anchovy fillets, from can, drained of oil
1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1.Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Cut the green beans into 2 inch pieces. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain green beans and rinse under cold water. In a serving bowl, mix together the green beans and cannelli beans.
3. Using a mortar and pestle (or with a bowl and metal spoon), blend together the anchovy fillets, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, garlic clove, and parsley.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the smashed anchovy mixture, the remaining lemon juice, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the dressing over the beans and toss to coat. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.