Flageolet Bean Salad – The Caviar of Beans – Tiny, Tender, Delicate

Flageolet Bean Salad – The Caviar of Beans Flageolet Bean Salad with Cucumber, Radishes, Carrots, Scallions & Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette

I now belong to a Bean Club. Actually, Steve Sando’s Rancho Gordo Bean Club featuring heirloom beans from around the world. My first Bean Club box arrived a week ago. Wow, such a bounty of beans. Six pounds of new-to-me heirloom beans along with a bag of Turkish bay leaves and Flageolet Bean Salad – The Caviar of Beansa jar of a “peppery zap of chile and citrus” Stardust Dipping Powder. Then, within days of the bean box, came a bounty of just-picked vegetables and herbs from a friend’s CSA box.

Flageolet Bean Salad – The Caviar of BeansWith so much abundance, it took me awhile to sort everything out and cook my first beans. I chose the tiny, pastel green, white and delicate Flageolet (flah-joh-LAY). Wonderful on their own when simply cooked. Even more wonderful in today’s fresh, light, satisfying and delicious Flageolet Bean Salad. Tender, creamy beans tossed in a Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette along with sliced fresh cucumber, radishes and scallions, grated carrots and fresh herbs.

Flageolet beans

Tiny, tender French bush-type beans, Flageolet are considered “the caviar of beans.” Here’s how Steve Sando, the Bean King, describes Flageolet.

“A creamy, mild bean traditionally loved…in cassoulet-type dishes, but we love them Flageolet Bean Salad – The Caviar of Beansbest with roasted garlic and tomatoes. We owe a lot to France for developing the Flageolet from what were originally New World beans. It’s ultra-creamy and dense and it stays whole despite a little rough treatment when being cooked.

“Keep an eye on them while they cook as they can turn the corner after awhile and get over done.

“Flageolet are an odd bean. Maybe a little more vegetable-like than most beans, but not like limas or peas. They still are a bean. They have a thick skin but somehow are delicate at the same time. They’re also extremely mild so they take on whatever flavors you can give them.”

Cooking Flageolet

I took the Bean King’s advice for a Flageolet Bean Salad and cooked the 1 pound bag of Flageolet simply with just Flageolet Bean Salad – The Caviar of Beansa couple of Turkish bay leaves and ½ teaspoon of salt. The more I read about salting beans, the better I feel about adding a little salt to the cooking water at the beginning.

When added at the beginning, the salt penetrates to the center of the beans improving their taste. The Flageolet beans came out tender, creamy and delicately flavored. And the bean broth . . . oh my. The broth concentrates during the cooking, becoming thick, richly flavored and surprisingly fresh tasting.

Can’t find Flageolet?

Without Flageolet, make this salad with more easily found Great Northern Beans or smaller Navy beans. As these are less flavorful beans than Flageolet, I’d recommend increasing the amount of dressing by a fourth when making Flageolet Bean Salad.

Flageolet Bean Salad – The Caviar of Beans

Flageolet Bean Salad with Cucumber, Radishes, Carrots & Scallions
in a Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette

Inspired by a recipe from Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo.
Do vary the vegetables depending on what’s on hand, i.e., blanched green beans, sliced celery, roasted red peppers, halved cherry tomatoes or pitted Kalamata olives. I use the food processor’s 2mm slicing blade for thinly slicing both the radishes and cucumber. Without Flageolet, make this salad with more easily found Great Northern Beans or smaller Navy beans. As these are less flavorful beans than Flageolet, I’d recommend increasing the amount of dressing by a fourth.

Note: bean cooking times vary. Mine took about 75 minutes. Do begin testing them after one hour. For as the Bean King said, “they can turn the corner after awhile and get over done.” He also recommends not pre-soaking Flageolet beans.

I cooked the whole pound of Flageolet at once, even though I only used 4 cups of them for this salad. I’ve stored the remaining 2 ½ cups of cooked beans in their broth.To use the whole pound of cooked beans, make 1 ½ times the recipe.

Makes 5 ½ – 6 cups                                                Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time about 80 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound Flageolet beansFlageolet Bean Salad – The Caviar of Beans
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon sea salt

Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ tablespoon homemade mustard or other country-style mustard
1 large garlic clove
⅛ teaspoon sea salt, and more to taste
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salad

4 cups cooked and drained Flageolet beans
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
½ cup thinly sliced radishes (4-5 radishes)
½ cup grated carrots
⅓ cup thinly sliced green onions (scallions)
¼ cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley

Instructions
  1. Flageolet Bean Salad – The Caviar of BeansPick through the beans and discard any debris. Rinse the beans well. Place them in a large pot along with the bay leaves, salt and water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Boil for 5 minutes before lowering the heat so the water simmers. Partially cover the pot. Check the beans after 1 hour for doneness. If the water gets low, add hot water from a tea kettle. Continue cooking the beans until tender.
  2. Prepare the Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing: Put the fresh lemon juice, red wine vinegar and salt into a 1-2 cup jar with a tight-fitting lid. Press the garlic through a garlic press into the jar. Let these ingredients sit for at least 5 minutes to both remove the sharpness from the garlic and to dissolve the salt. Add the fresh thyme and the olive oil. With the lid on the jar, shake the jar to emulsify the dressing.
  3. Prepare the salad ingredients: Slice the cucumber, radishes and green onions. Flageolet Bean Salad – The Caviar of BeansGrate the carrots. Keep these items refrigerated until time to toss them with the beans.
  4. When the beans are cooked, drain them, saving the flavorful broth for another use. Measure out 4 cups of beans and place them in a large mixing bowl. Shake the dressing again if it has separated, and pour it over the hot beans. Use a rubber spatula to gently toss the beans with the dressing.
  5. Toss in the prepared salad ingredients. Adjust the salt to taste. Serve the salad warm (my favorite), at room temperature or cold.
  6. Note: if you are going to serve Flageolet Bean Salad at room temperature or cold, readjust the salt again just before serving. As a salad served warm will need less salt than a salad served at room temperature or cold.

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