With its combination of smoky, grilled peppers, this is a salad which can be prepared well ahead. When you can find them, black beans look particularly effective. Cooking dried beans with a selection of herbs and a roughly chopped onion will add to their flavour when you want to use them for a salad, as here. It is much better to put on the dressing while the beans are still hot so that they will absorb it.
Drain the soaked beans and put in a saucepan with the bay leaves, rosemary sprigs and roughly chopped onion. Cover generously with water and bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then lower the heat, cover and simmer very gently for 40–60 minutes, skimming as necessary, until the beans are soft but still holding their shape.
Meanwhile, grill the pepper halves until the skins have blackened. Wrap them in a tea towel and set aside to cool. Put all the vinaigrette ingredients into a jam jar, cover and shake to mix thoroughly.
When the beans are cooked, drain them, discarding the herbs and onion, and put them in a large bowl. Shake the vinaigrette again and pour over the beans, mixing gently. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, peel the grilled peppers and slice thinly. When the beans are coolish, mix in the peppers, chopped spring onions and roughly chopped parsley. Serve the salad warm or at room temperature, not chilled.
© 1991 All rights reserved. Published by Websters International.