Culinary Anthropologist

Spanish chorizo, cherry tomato and butter bean salad

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This week I bring you a more-ish warm salad, inspired by that Moorish
London restaurant on Exmouth Market. This one’s for Tara, who has
abandoned me at Chez Panisse to go and work at Moro for a while.
Hopefully I’ll get some more yummy Spanish recipes from her as a result.

Smchorizobutterbeansalad0010_r1a.jpgAll still goes well in the restaurant kitchen. I’ve had good days
(another soup proclaimed ‘delicious’ by the chef), bad days (a soup
proclaimed only fit for the compost), fun days (sausage-stuffing,
, chicken-boning kinda days) and bizarre days (such as
the day I lost my bra strap somewhere in the restaurant, lord knows how
or when, but it must be there somewhere…).

This easy salad has been one of our favourites ever since we got our first Moro cookbook – the ever-popular London restaurant run by Sam & Sam Clark.  The combination of pork, bean, tomato, herb, garlic, sherry vinegar and olive oil is unsurprisingly a winner.  

Recipe:  Chorizo butter bean and tomato salad.pdf

Serves:  6 as a starter or lunch
Time:  30 mins

170g (6 oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
a large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
ΒΌ red onion, sliced into very thin quarter-circles
2 400g (14 oz) tins butter beans
140g (5 oz) Spanish chorizo, in 1/4-1/8” slanted slices

For the vinaigrette:
2 small cloves garlic
3 tbsps sherry vinegar
7 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt
black pepper

  1. Place halved tomatoes, parsley leaves and sliced onion in a big bowl.
  2. Empty beans and their liquid plus a good pinch of salt into a saucepan and heat gently until hot but not quite simmering.  Stir occasionally with a metal spoon, just to distribute the heat, being careful not to break up the beans.  Keep warm over a low heat.
  3. Meanwhile, place garlic in a mortar with a pinch of coarse salt and pound to a smooth paste.  Transfer to a small bowl.  Whisk in vinegar.  Add oil in a slow stream, whisking.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  4. Fry chorizo over medium-high heat until slightly crisped and coloured on each side.  Do not use oil as the chorizo will release plenty.  Using a slotted spoon transfer chorizo to bowl of tomatoes.  Turn off heat.  Discard all but 2 tbsps of the fat.
  5. Standing back, add vinaigrette to the pan and let bubble up.  Using a wooden spoon scrape up the chorizo sediment from the bottom of the pan and mix vinaigrette.  
  6. Drain beans and add to the bowl of tomatoes and chorizo.  Pour over the warm vinaigrette from the frying pan.  Gently toss to mix up all the ingredients and disperse the vinaigrette.  Taste a bean to check for seasoning.  Serve while still slightly warm.

You could vary this recipe in any number of ways.  For example, use chickpeas instead of butter beans, or roasted and skinned red peppers instead of tomatoes, or pancetta instead of chorizo, or fried rosemary and sage instead of fresh parsley, or any beany-piggy-herby combo of your liking.

For spectacular results, use fresh butter beans:

  • Smfreshbutterbeans0008.JPGShell beans and place in a saucepan with a bay leaf, 4 parsley stalks, 2 sprigs of thyme, a peeled carrot, half a peeled onion, a celery stalk cut in 2 pieces, a dash of olive oil and a tsp of salt.  Cover with cold water by 1”.
  • Bring to a boil then immediately reduce to a very gentle simmer and cook until the beans are totally soft and creamy inside but not falling apart.  This may take at least an hour.  As you taste the beans for doneness also check for seasoning and add more salt if needed.  NB Add water if needed during cooking so that beans remain completely covered at all times.
  • Let beans sit in their water off the heat for 20 mins, then pick out the herbs and vegetables, drain and add to the salad while still warm.  You could also add a tbsp or so of the cooking broth to the vinaigrette.

Learn more about chorizo here

1 Comment

  1. Chris

    We acquired some fresh butter beans at the farmer’s market this past weekend. I was looking for a way to use them in a salad and found your link. This looks really great, and I think we’ll give this a try. Thank you!