Cooking dried beans at home is easy, and it saves both money and natural resources. Parmesan Stock is a pantry staple that turns those usually discarded cheese rinds into a flavorful, versatile broth that's great to have on hand for soups, pastas, and risottos; it's wonderful for flavoring the beans' cooking water. Canned beans are an acceptable substitute, just be sure to rinse them well. Ribbons of prosciutto, shavings of parmesan, and fresh English peas meld with the beans and arugula to create a terrifically tasty salad or side dish. Use your favorite dressing or try our Lemony Vinaigrette below.
dried cannellini beans (picked over and rinsed, or 2 cups canned beans rinsed)
cold Parmesan Stock or water
fresh, shelled, English peas
Earthbound Farm Organic Baby Arugula (thinly sliced)
grated zest or 1 lemon
thinly sliced prosciutto (cut into 2 by 1/2-inch strips)
Fresh shaved parmesan (to taste)
fresh lemon juice
extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Place the beans in a saucepan and add the Parmesan Stock or cold water to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a slow simmer. Cook, partially covered with a lid, until the beans are tender all the way through, adding more stock or water as needed to keep the beans covered. Cooking times can range from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the age of the beans. Just before the beans are cooked, add the salt and continue cooking until the beans are soft and tender, but not mushy. Drain the beans and set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and cook them for 90 seconds. Drain and immediately plunge the peas into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain again when the peas are cool, and set aside.
To make the vinaigrette: place the lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, and the salt and pepper to taste in a small jar. Seal the jar tightly with a lid and shake vigorously to combine. Set aside at room temperature, if you’re making the salad within 3 hours; otherwise, refrigerate the dressing for up to 1 week. Bring it to room temperature and shake vigorously before using.
To assemble the salad, place the warm beans in a large bowl. Add the arugula and lemon zest, and toss to distribute. Add half of the dressing to the mixture in the bowl and toss to coat, adding more dressing as needed.
Shave the parmesan into the salad and add the prosciutto; toss to combine. Garnish with more parmesan shavings and serve at room temperature for the best flavor.