Warm butter bean salad with green olives and tomatoes
This is loosely based on gigantes plaki – Greek butter beans cooked in tomato and dill, then doused with a hearteningly generous smothering of good olive oil. I’ve eaten these on Greek summer holidays, but they are hearty enough for a colder September day, too – the perfect salad to bridge summer to autumn. I serve them just-warm from the pan; they are arguably better the day after when the flavours have had time to marry, making for excellent leftovers and packed lunches.
Good extra-virgin olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 tbsp tomato puree
250g tomatoes, cut into small pieces
2 x 400g tins butter beans, drained (or 500g home-cooked beans)
2 tsp red-wine vinegar
10 green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
2 tbsp capers
1 small bunch dill, roughly chopped
Feta (vegetarian) to finish (optional)
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium-low heat, add the onion and cook for 10-15 minutes until soft and sweet but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for another three to four minutes.
Add the tomato puree, stir until everything is coated, add the tomatoes and butterbeans, stir and leave to warm a little, then take off the heat and transfer to a bowl.
Add eight tablespoons of olive oil, the vinegar, olives, capers, dill and a good couple of pinches of salt to the beans and mix well. Taste, adding more salt, oil, vinegar as needed, until balanced.
Serve as is or with feta crumbled over, alongside flatbreads or chunks of bread for dabbing up juices left in the bowl.
IMAGE: Matt Russell for The Guardian