I can almost hear you saying, “White beans in the summer, you’ve lost your mind!” I know white beans are not exactly what many would consider summer fare, but something I’m sure most of us, especially in the South, have a sitting in the freezer. Seeing a bag of white beans in my freezer delights my senses, not only are they one of my favorites, but was also my grandmother’s. It seemed there was always a bowl, the same bowl, of beans hanging out in the fridge. Yes, she had a designated white bean bowl, I can still see the delicate blue stitch pattern wrapping its way around the bowl with the faded edges-the bowl got a lot of use!
Like gumbo, I’m sure everyone has their own recipe for white beans. How do you enjoy yours? With or without rice? Sausage or ham? Soup style or creamy style? However you make your white beans, they can be used in this salad, even canned beans (in a pinch). This salad is a perfect stuffing for fresh tomatoes, which is what my grandmother loved to do with fresh picked tomatoes from her garden.
Use leftover boiled or steamed shrimp for a quick summer salad:
Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: Does your white beans have ham or sausage? If not, add some or how about adding crumbled cooked bacon. Think about what ingredients you enjoy in a potato salad. How about adding chopped hard boiled eggs? Think about what ingredients you enjoy in a pasta salad. How about adding shredded carrots? Think about what seasonings you already have in your leftover white beans and highlight them? Like adding chopped green peppers. Any hot sauce or Cajun seasoning? If not, add some. How about using crawfish tails instead of shrimp? Not a stuffed tomato fan, how about stuffing an avocado? Still have some leftover steamed or boiled shrimp? Make Sweet-n-Spicy Shrimp Skillet Slaw
FOOD FUN: Like my grandmother’s white bean bowl, is there a bowl, dish, plate, or even a teacup that is solely used for a certain food item in your family? What is its’ history? Why was that piece of pottery or china chosen for such a dish? What makes it special? Is it passed down from generation to generation? Don’t think there is a special dish in your family, ask around. You may be surprised to learn that when Aunt Marie sees the yellow daisy casserole dish on the table she knows she is going to have banana pudding! I so wish I had my grandmother’s white bean bowl to hold my white beans, but am thankful for the memories it holds in my heart.