Butter Bean and Tiny Tomato Salad

By: The Local Palate
Butter bean tomato salad

“Pull out your prettiest platter, because this composed salad is special enough to serve as the centerpiece of a meal and your table. It unites two summer produce standouts that surge into season at the same time. I love to use pea-size currant tomatoes, although any colorful assortment of ripe miniatures is fine. The sprightly gremolata delivers the cured pork seasoning that many Southerners associate—if not crave—with their butter beans, but in a way that keeps the focus on the vegetables. The citronette adds balance and bright citrus to the platter. If ever a butter bean dish called out for a glass of chilled wine or iced tea on a summer evening, this is it.”

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Makes 4 entrées or 6 to 8 side servings

    for the salad:
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) shelled fresh butter beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, preferably lemon
  • 1 cup tiny tomatoes
  • for the honey-lemon citronette:
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain dijon mustard
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably lemon
  • Pepper
  • for the bacon gremolata:
  • 2 ounces bacon, cut crosswise into ½-inch wide pieces
  • 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs from a stale baguette or unsweetened cornbread
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Make the salad: Pick through beans to remove any bits of hull and rinse them in changes of cool water until beans are no longer sticky and water is clear. Pour into a medium saucepan, cover with cool water to a depth of 1 inch, and add salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer over medium heat until tender, 15 to 30 minutes, depending on size and freshness of the beans. Skim away any foam. (Make citronette and gremolata while beans cook.) Drain the beans, toss them with a little olive oil to keep them moist, and taste for salt. Set aside to cool.
  2. Make the citronette: Meanwhile, stir together lemon juice, shallot, garlic, and salt in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes and then stir to dissolve salt. Whisk in honey and mustard, and then whisk in oil. Season with a generous pinch of pepper and taste for balance. Set aside.
  3. Make the gremolata: In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until rendered and crisp, about 12 minutes, stirring often. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon into a small bowl, leaving fat in skillet.
  4. Stir breadcrumbs and garlic into fat and stir to coat. Cook until the crumbs are crisp and deep golden, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in reserved bacon, parsley, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To assemble: Toss together butter beans and tomatoes, and transfer to a serving platter or shallow serving bowl. Stir citronette well and spoon over top. Sprinkle with gremolata and serve at once, while breadcrumbs remain crisp.


  • Recipe By
    Sheri Castle

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