1 pound dry white beans or borlotti beans,
washed, picked over, and soaked overnight or at least 6 hours.
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 medium or large red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 red bell pepper, cut in thin 1-inch long
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley, or
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
freshly ground black pepper
Drain the beans and combine with the white
or yellow onion, the chopped garlic, the water, and the bay leaf in a
large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover,
and simmer for 60 minutes. Add salt to taste and half the minced garlic,
cover, cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or until tender. Drain, reserving
the cooking liquid.
Combine 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and 1 cup
water in a bowl; add the red onion. Add more water to cover if necessary
and soak 30 minutes. Drain. Mix together the lemon juice, vinegars,
remaining garlic, mustard and 3/4 cup cooking liquid from the beans. Add
salt and pepper to taste and adjust the seasonings. Toss with the beans
in a salad bowl, along with the red onion, bell pepper, herbs, pepper
and more salt to taste. Serve warm or chilled.
Serve the Italian Bean Salad warm in the
winter or chilled in the summer. It makes a wonderful main dish.