1 1/2 cup dried Great Northern or other white bean, picked over
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed coarse
2 garlic cloves if desired
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander sprigs or parsley leaves
In a large saucepan combine beans with water to cover by 2 inches and add salt, bay leaves, and coriander seeds. Simmer beans, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding more hot water if necessary to keep beans covered, 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until beans are just tender but not mushy.
Make dressing while beans are cooking: Mince garlic fine and in a large bowl stir together well with lemon juice and oil.
In a colander drain beans, discarding bay leaves, and add to dressing. Toss salad and season with salt and pepper. Cool salad and stir in onion and herbs. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Serve salad at room temperature, thinning if necessary with 1 to 2 tablespoons water.
Gourmet, July 1995