Two weeks ago I returned from vacation in Portugal. I want to write about it. And I will! At some point! Mostly because people keep asking me for my itinerary (I think this is a testament to what an epic planner I am) but I haven’t gone through all my photos and I’m still waiting on film to come back and I figure when I can finally digest everything, I’ll write about it.
Until then, let’s talk about produce. Specifically tomatoes.
Most days I’m dreaming about tomato sandwiches. Weekends are for making tomato confit in an effort to freeze a little bit of summer. I’m spending a lot of money on heirloom tomatoes in every shape, size, and color. There are worse vices you could have.
I’ve made this dish twice since seeing it in the August issue of Bon Appetit. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love it - it can actually be a meal! Especially if you round it out with some good bread and a couple of nice cheeses. If you’re fortunate enough to live near a farmers market where you can get fresh beans, use them here.
Big Beans and Tomato Vinaigrette
Recipe via Bon Appetit
For the Beans
Handful of oregano sprigs
Handful of thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
8 oz. dried butter beans, rinsed, soaked overnight if possible
1 medium onion, halved
1 large carrot, scrubbed, coarsely chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Vinaigrette and Assembly
10 oz. cherry tomatoes or 1½ cups chopped heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 lb. assorted heirloom, beefsteak, and/or cherry tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful of basil leaves
Mild red pepper flakes (such as Aleppo-style or Maras)
Make the Beans - Tie together oregano, thyme, and bay leaves with kitchen twine. Combine beans, onion, carrot, and herbs in a medium pot. Pour in water to cover beans by about 4" and bring to a very gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat and cook at the barest of simmers, stirring hardly at all, until beans are creamy and tender at the center but not falling apart or mushy, about 1½ hours (this could take longer, depending on the beans). The key is to not agitate, which will help the beans maintain their shape. Remove pot from heat; season beans aggressively with salt. Gently stir in oil. Let cool. Drain beans; discard onion, carrot, and herbs.
Do Ahead: Beans can be made 2 days ahead. Keep in liquid; cover and chill.
Vinaigrette and Assembly - Purée cherry tomatoes in a blender. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in garlic, vinegar, and ⅓ cup oil; season with salt. Let sit 15–20 minutes, then pluck out garlic.
Transfer drained beans to a medium bowl and add vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Slice, halve, or quarter heirloom tomatoes and arrange on a platter or divide among individual plates. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Spoon beans along with plenty of vinaigrette over; top with basil and a few pinches of red pepper flakes.