Nourishing, smoky beans with crisp, distinctive celery and salty capers all come together to bolster the familiar oil-dressed potato salad. Dense and flavorful, this salad is hefty enough to qualify as a meal on its own, but it would be an especially satisfying winter meal paired with a bowl of warm, broth-based soup, like our garlic and greens soup. Simply omit the beans to avoid legume overload, or, if you prefer to retain the extra calories and protein, substitute for the butter beans any grain (rice, orzo pasta, barley, &c.) or cubed tofu.
Two-Bean, Celery, and Potato Salad with Capers and Mustard-Lemon Dressing
serves 2-3, adapted from Food & Wine, April 2008
generous half cup cannellini beans, soaked for 8 hours (or 1 15-oz can cooked, drained)
generous half cup kidney beans, soaked for 8 hours (or 1 15-oz can cooked, drained)
1 tsp liquid smoke, or to taste
1 lb small red or Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 TBSP oil
juice of half a lemon
2 tsp stone ground mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt and pepper, to taste
3 stalks celery, with leaves, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 TBSP capers, drained
Preheat the oven to 450.
Add both soaked beans to a pot with 3 cups of water and the liquid smoke. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook with the lid cocked until the beans are tender, 45 minutes to an hour (or longer, if necessary--it can depend on the age of your beans, just stir them periodically to avoid sticking and to make sure they don't run out of water). Salt generously in the last minutes of cooking. If using canned beans, drain and rinse them, and transfer to a serving bowl.
Meanwhile, toss the diced potatoes with 1 TBSP oil and roast until golden and browned in spots, 35-45 minutes.
While the beans and potatoes cook, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, and oil. Season, gently, to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside while you chop the celery and chives.
When the beans and potatoes have finished, thoroughly toss the beans, celery, chives, capers, and dressing. Adjust seasoning. Add the potatoes and toss gently. Serve warm or at room temperature.