We love beans, and the best beans we’ve found are those from Rancho Gordo. We discovered Rancho Gordo many years ago, back when they were still a small heirloom bean purveyor in Marin County, California. Now, I often see their beans featured in Sunset, Saveur, and other fine food magazines, websites, and markets. What’s so great about their beans? For one, you’ll discover beautiful heirloom varieties (old varieties from other countries or those our grandparents once knew) that have incomparable flavors, textures, colors, and even patterns. The names are wonderful, too: Eye of the Goat (pictured below), Christmas Lima Bean, Good Mother Stallard. Once you taste a Rancho Gordo bean you will never buy a bag of conventional beans again, which are often tough and dry even after a soak and long cook.
Each Christmas we give (and receive!) about 5 pounds of various beans to our each of our loved ones. Yes, we are that passionate about their beans (and, no, this is not a paid endorsement)! We store our beans in our cool basement and eat them year-round. I recently received their newsletter featuring this simple, gorgeous white bean salad and I was compelled to share it with you. I’ve altered it slightly by adding raw fennel, which adds a lovely anise (licorice) flavor to the salad, and a bit of fresh dill that also makes a wonderful addition.
Heirloom White Bean Salad with Celery, Fennel, and Radishes
Adapted from Rancho Gordo
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1-2 celery stalks, cut into thin ¼-inch slices
1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 small handful of fresh dill, finely minced (optional)
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 bunch of radishes, cleaned and trimmed, and thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups cooked white beans such as Ayocote Blanco, Cassoulet or Royal Corona
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Add all the ingredients to a large salad bowl and gently toss. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Below is a short video on how to prepare beans the Rancho Gordo way. I recommend taking the time to watch it!
The simple yet specific instructions for making a pot of beans.
Rancho Gordo heirlooms beans don't need a lot of fussing! They don't need a ham hock or chicken stock. Try them as instructed the first time and see if you don't agree.