Anchovy, bean, celery & caper salad

Anchovy, bean, celery & caper salad

By
From
Sicily
Serves
6–8

On the winding road to Scicli, olive trees shelter pretty white flowers, and capers cling to the drystone walls dividing the terrain. Scicli is a baroque beauty, a cluster of churches, a piazza or two, potted palms and golden-yellow stone buildings that reflect the sunshine. On our way through the town, we called in for lunch at La Grotta, its name a nod to its unusual setting, nestled into the side of a cave. The restaurant is run by Angelo Di Tommasi and his son and we loved the food, especially the starter of anchovies, fronds of wild fennel (or dill), celery and fagioli cosaruciaru, a slow-food bean that, when cooked, melts in your mouth. We immediately popped back into the town and bought some. For ease, we have substituted them with cannellini beans in this recipe. Serve this dish with fish in Salmoriglio, on its own, with chopped boiled eggs or roasted peppers, tuna or on bruschetta.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g dried cannellini beans
a few sage leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 celery stalks and leaves from the heart, finely sliced
2 tablespoons capers in salt, rinsed
50g good-quality black olives, stoned and chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt
freshly ground black pepper
handful parsley leaves and soft stalks, finely chopped
8-10 anchovies in oil, drained, added according to taste and size, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Cover the beans in cold water and soak overnight. The following day, drain the beans, discard the water and put the beans into a large saucepan with twice the volume of cold water, the sage leaves and garlic. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2–2½ hours or until soft. Top up with hot water as necessary. If the skins remain tough after this time add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and cook for 5 minutes more. Drain and throw away the water. Discard the sage leaves and garlic. Put the beans into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to a frying pan and fry the onion with the celery stalks but not the leaves over a low heat for around 10 minutes or until the onion has softened. Stir through the capers and olives to coat in the cooking juices and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and add to the beans, stirring to mix.
  3. Make a dressing by combining the vinegar, the remaining oil and some seasoning. Mix with the beans and leave to cool. When the beans are at room temperature, stir through the parsley, celery leaves and anchovies. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary and maybe add a couple more anchovies if you like their flavour. Serve straight away.

Variations:

  • Add a tin of sustainably caught tuna or some roasted red or yellow peppers.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Sicily
Sicilian
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again