White Beans with Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms

October 15, 2009

We were kind of jonesing for a hunk of protein at Chez T. I mean, we’d been doing fairly well with Bean Week, but sometimes you just cannot sustain that kind of virtue. Plus, I’ve gotta ease up, caterpillars…I’ve eaten beans for lunch and dinner for 2 days in a row and I am a Walking Chernobyl. It’s baaaaaaaad.

I saw some beautiful salmon at the market, and couldn’t resist. Hubs, Awesome Stepkid R. and I love salmon. Especially prepared BBQ-style.

I based the side dish on a recipe I’d seen by Jamie Oliver on his website. But, of course, I tinkered with it. Plus, I put exact measurements in my version, because a “knob of butter” and a “glassful of wine” and a “glug of olive oil” might sound charming from that baby-faced Brit, but if I tried to get away with that crap, I’d get my butt kicked.

The local market, along with gorgeous salmon, was sporting some lovely-looking shiitake mushrooms, which we don’t often get, so I snapped them up. I thought they added a nice earthiness to the leeks and beans. I also added fresh thyme, for an added punch.

White Beans with Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms
serves 3
based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Leeks with White Beans

3 leeks, cut into coins and cleaned*
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2-1 cup dry white wine
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup white beans, cooked
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the oil and butter. Add the leeks, shallot and garlic and saute until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, cover the pan and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes or until the leeks are melting apart. Stir in the mushrooms, white beans and thyme and, if mixture seems dry, more wine. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

**Leeks are dirty little buggers. Slice them, separate them, and place in a big bowl of cold water. Swish them around for a while, drain, and repeat the process with clean water until there’s no evidence of dirt.

This side dish made a terrific little bed for the salmon. I think it would be just as nice with beef or pork, too.

Easy BBQ Salmon
serves 3

3 5-6oz. salmon fillets, skin on
1/3 cup your favorite BBQ sauce (we like ours spicy and not too sweet)
splash of vermouth
1 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed sheet pan or casserole dish with heavy duty foil; spray with cooking spray.

Allow the salmon to warm on the counter for 10 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine BBQ sauce, vermouth, and honey (if you like sweet BBQ sauce, you may decide to omit the honey).

Place salmon in foiled dish, spoon sauce over, and bake until just cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

I felt much better after my fishy fix, and I am happy to report that we are making a big old dent in that GINORMOUS tupperware of beans!! The light at the end of the tunnel…

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