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My (and Sainsburys’) bean salad

This is delicious and very easy.

Start by frying some chopped red peppers - the trimmings from roasted peppers if you have them - in very hot olive oil, tossing them frequently. After a bit, add a roughly chopped onion. (I’m not giving quantities - any mixture within reason will do.)

You don’t want to overcook the vegetables, but you do want some nice charred bits. Late on, add as much finely chopped garlic as you think is appropriate (a couple of largish cloves would be about right for me), toss briefly and turn off the heat.

While the pan is hot, grind in quite a lot of black pepper and sprinkle in some sea salt. Stir thoroughly.

Empty a large tin of Sainsbury’s Mixed Bean Salad (I expect Tesco, Asda, Safeway, Morrisons et al do them too) into a sieve and rinse with cold water. Add to the pan.

Do the same with a small tin of sweetcorn.

When things are reasonably cool, drizzle over more olive oil (the amount is up to you - I use masses and always stir the salad as I spoon it onto my plate so that everything is freshly coated and glossy and obscenely fattening - any left on the plate gets mopped up with bread). Stir and spoon into a serving dish. Chill thoroughly.

I like to add oregano to this for an authentically Italian flavour. If I’ve got some growing on the kitchen windowsill I put in lots of whole leaves. If not, Bart’s fresh oregano in oil is the next best thing. Otherwise, sprinkle in the dried herb while the mixture is hot and steamy.

This salad is great, but if you make too much and get bored with it, try warming the remains up and dumping them on some hot pasta.

You can also add some cooked pasta - fusili are good - for a more robust salad. Then when you get bored all you have to do is heat the whole lot up in the microwave and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and Parmesan.

Note that fusili are plural, as are lasagne (one is a lasagna), spaghetti, ravioli and all other nouns ending with ’i’. So why do French menus use a double plural by offering you ’spaghettis’ and ’raviolis’?).

Personal site for Paul Marsden: frustrated writer; experimental cook and all-round foodie; amateur wine-importer; former copywriter and press-officer; former teacher, teacher-trainer, educational software developer and documenter; still a professional web-developer but mostly retired.

This site was transferred in June 2005 to the Sites4Doctors Site Management System, and has been developed and maintained there ever since.