White Bean and Shrimp Salad

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This quick, simple-to-make, and filling salad of white beans and shrimp is based on a recipe in Joyce Goldstein's Enoteca. Although the traditional bean to use for this kind of Tuscan bean salad are cannellini, the cannellini packed in cans are usually extremely soft and gummy. Small white beans, on the other hand, seem to keep their shape and remain separate, despite the canning process. The beans must be rinsed under the tap to remove all of the syrupy liquid in the can. (The best option would be to start from scratch with dry beans, but using canned beans requires no preparation).

Combine the beans with chopped tomato, finely chopped red onion, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and chopped basil, mint or parsley. The recipe calls for sauteeing the shrimp, but I prefer to boil them (this is the way a similar salad was served in Milan). Peel, devein, and slice shrimp into pieces comparable in size to the beans. Boil the shrimp in salted water, drain, and toss with some olive oil and let cool slightly. While the shrimp are still warm, combine with the bean mixture and a handful of julienned basil. The salad should be served at room temperature.

An even easier variation on the salad, which also works well, is to substitute oil-packed tuna for the shrimp. To make: Combine the beans and vegetables as above and top with chunks of canned tuna instead of shrimp.