Warmed cannellini beans with walnut aillade and tomatoes

This aillade of pestled walnuts, garlic and vinegar is mixed with warmed cannellini beans, chopped tomatoes and torn basil leaves to have as an accompaniment or a meal.  Serve it warm with a lamb chop and a handful of rocket; as a salad with watercress; add some slices of chorizo sausage fried just long enough to release their oils; or pile onto toast.


Servings: 4 as an accompaniment; 2 as a meal


120g dried cannellini beans 

300g tomatoes

20g walnut pieces

2 cloves garlic

11/2 tbsp cherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4tsp chilli flakes (optional)

4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

20 basil leaves

2 tsp balsamic vinegar


Soak the cannellini beansin cold water for 10-12 hours then drain. Put into a large pan with 600ml cold water and boil for 10 mins then reduce the heat to simmer for another 1½ hours. The beans are ready when tender but with a little bite.  Drain, rinse and set aside.


Quarter the tomatoes, scoop out and discard their seeds. Chop into small dice then put into a mixing bowl. 


Make the walnut aillade by pestling the walnuts and garlic cloves together with a good pinch of salt until it becomes a paste. Stir in the vinegar, oil and the chilli flakes if using. 


Gently heat the cannellini beans and half of the chopped parsley in a small saucepan with just a splash of water. While still on the heat stir in the walnut aillade for barely a minute. Add all of that to the bowl of tomatoes, season, then stir in the rest of the chopped parsley. Tear the basil leaves and add those too along with the balsamic vinegar. Serve whilst still warm.


VARIATION: this recipe becomes very quick if you use tinned cannellini beans instead of dried. Rinse the beans from one tin and then proceed from where the cooked beans are drained, rinsed and set aside.

(This recipe originally featured for Borough Market.)

Watercress and walnut soup

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