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Italian Butter Beans with Meyer Lemon and Tarragon

Large, starchy Italian butter beans are our choice for this versatile, year round salad.  If Italian butter beans beans aren’t available, use cannellini, white runner, or any large white bean instead.  Allow plenty of time and cook the beans gently, so they hold their shape when tossed with the vinaigrette. 

Serves 4 to 6  Makes about 4 cups

1½ cups Italian butter beans, about 9 ounces, sorted and soaked overnight
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
¼ large red onion, finely diced, about ½ cup
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Drain and rinse the beans.  Place them in a large saucepan with the water and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until they’re tender but still hold their shape, about 1½ hours. Make the vinaigrette and set aside.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil and drop in the onion for 30 seconds.  Drain and toss in a small bowl with the vinegar.

Drain the beans and toss them immediately with the onions, vinaigrette and a pinch or two of pepper.  Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally as the salad cools.  Just before serving, add the tarragon and parsley.

Meyer LemonVinaigrette

If Meyer lemons aren’t available, use regular lemons instead.

2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk everything but the oil together in a small bowl. Slowly pour in the oil, whisking until emulsified.

Makes about ½ cup