Cocagne Bean & Artichoke Salad

Cocagne Bean & Artichoke Salad Recipe


My parents live an hour south of us in the house my sister and I grew up in. They built on a pretty plot of land in the suburban foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains in the 70s, when I was four, and they've lived there since. We got together there, as a family, for Easter this year, and I think it occurred to everyone that this will likely be the last holiday in Los Gatos. They're moving relatively soon, and will likely list the property sometime in the next few months. On one hand I'm excited they'll have a new adventure to embark on, on the other I'll miss being able to visit the place I grew up. More than anything, I love looking out from inside their house. It is flanked by an (rare) undeveloped stretch of hilly, open space that is a stage for all sorts of old craggy oak trees, deer, heron, and the occasional coyote. In the spring the grass is short, and electric green, and by late summer it is waist-high and pale straw in color. You can see the details of day from their kitchen window, every car coming down the road, every neighbor on a dog walk, neighborhood cats hunting in the distance, the mailman delivering letters.

This is the bean salad I made to take to Easter this year - pickled celery, chopped kalamata olives and toasted walnuts, along with tender artichokes, and lots of the white cocagne beans I picked up at my neighborhood farmers' market. You can substitute any white beans you like.

Cocagne Bean & Artichoke SaladCocagne Bean & Artichoke SaladCocagne Bean & Artichoke SaladCocagne Bean & Artichoke Salad

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Cocagne Bean & Artichoke Salad

The artichokes make this salad quite a bit more intensive to make. That said, I'd argue they're worth it. Alternately, you can swap in another seasonal vegetable if you like - asparagus, favas, etc.

1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup / 60ml water
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced

20 baby artichokes, trimmed, quartered, and placed in a bowl of water acidulated with the juice of one lemon

1 medium clove of garlic, chopped

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
30 kalamata olives, pitted, rinsed, chopped
1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
pinch of salt, plus more to taste
4- 5 cups cooked white beans

to serve: a bit of cooked quinoa or other grain, herb flowers (optional)

Combine the vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the honey dissolves. Remove from heat, transfer to a non-reactive container (like a jar), and cool completely. When cool add the celery to the vinegar mixture, and set aside at least 15 minutes.

In the meantime, place the prepared artichokes in a saucepan of boiling salted water along with the chopped garlic, for just a minute or two, until tender. Drain well, and set aside. At this point you can season the artichokes, and use them in the salad, OR pan-fry them until golden in a bit of olive oil, and then use them in the salad. Either way is delicious. I pan-fried the ones you see in the photo, but it is an extra step (one you can do a day or two ahead of time if you like though).

Combine the olive oil, olives, walnuts, remaining 1 teaspoon honey, and a bit of salt in a small bowl and stir well. Drain the celery and it to the mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning until it tastes nice.

To serve, combine the beans in a large bowl with the walnut-celery mixture. Stir well. Now season, and adjust as needed -this is an important step to pay attention to for this salad in particular. Make it taste good, ask yourself if it needs more salt, more sweet, a squeeze of lemon, etc. Then finish with the artichokes, a bit of quinoa (or other cooked grain), and a few herb flowers if you have them on hand.

Serves 6.

Prep time: 15 min - Cook time: 20 min

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Comments


this sounds gorgeous. I like beans in a salad, I don't know why. So your recipe is on my to-do-list for this weekend. thanks :-)

April 14, 2015
 

This pickled celery is really interesting and this salad seems so delicious!

April 14, 2015
 

I think there is something about Easter and this time of year which really draws me both backwards and forwards. It seems like a good time for reflection but also, the intoxicating scent of spring in the air make me look to what's coming. This salad sounds really lovely - hearty but still bright and fresh.

April 15, 2015
 

Your description of your parent's home and neighborhood sounds peaceful. I can understand your mixed feelings. And this salad is simple gorgeous. It's amazing what a pot of good beans can do to dishes. Love the pickled celery as well.

April 15, 2015
 

Annie Falk

Just yesterday I walked through my parent's winter home for the last time – bittersweet. So comforting reading your post today. Artichokes are a family favorite - thank's for sharing both your story and recipe.

April 15, 2015
 

Nikki Graham

Oh, Heidi, it's so hard to imagine your parents not living in the house you and Heather grew up in. Man, so many amazing memories of that place. Really makes me wish I had visited it last time I was in CA. My love to you and your family! xxoo


HS: Miss you huge Nik! I think my dad is still finding contraband under the deck, and over the back fence ;) Much love to the family. I hope we can meet up on this coast or that this year. xxoo

April 15, 2015
 

Midge

Girl, I love this one as well as all you share. Thank you so much.

Sorry to hear your parents will be giving up that home. I'm glad you had such good memories of it.

Hugs from a distance, Midge

April 15, 2015
 

It's hard when parents leave the family home - so many memories left behind. But so many new ones to come. What a lovely spring salad!

April 15, 2015
 

angelica

So will you post any pics of the scenes you've described? Your intro left me wanting visuals!

April 15, 2015
 

Janet

I said good-bye to my childhood home just two years ago off of Edgewood and 280. My parents had built it in stages during their 64 years there and they were IN every odd angle of design, and in the stone and wood materials used. It was (still is) hard to have them gone, but then my sister and I tackled the accumulated clean out and handed it over to a realtor to update it for the current market in the bay area. Fortunately my last visit there included both deer and rainbow sitings. The finished updating, including painting over of never-to-be-made-again sandblasted redwood paneling, was not my idea, but it was perfect for a new generation of owners. Your post brought back bittersweet memories, my family's love for artichokes and a yummy, healthy salad to look forward to making. Thanks, Heidi. I hope your parents find a great place to downsize to that will create more happy memories for you, for the time being.

April 15, 2015
 

I love the artichoke and walnuts addition in this salad, nice textures going on!

April 15, 2015
 

Lori Narlock

Oh, Heidi I know how that feels. Honestly it's one of the reasons I love the cabin so much. It's where time stands still and there's no reason to think that will change any time soon. I hope your parents are making a fun move that will bring them great joy. And that one day you'll drive by your family home with Jack and tell him stories about when you and his mom were little and did.....xo, L

April 15, 2015
 

i love the addition of the pickled celery. guessing they are why no "acid" in the dressing? i also love the idea of family homes passed down through generations as in italy. but in the absence of such deep belonging, your poetry gives us all deep peace. thank you.

April 16, 2015
 

Martina Nicolls

In the UK it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find tiny artichokes. The ones that do occasionally turn up in Farmer's Markets are tiny but tend to be as tough as old boots and very fibrous. Much dental floss needed. Might I suggest to other UK readers that they try using Italian char-grilled bottled artichokes in olive oil. Easily available. Drain well and flash fry in a dry non stick frying pan. Have often had to resort to this. And it works. Not the real deal but in Northern Europe you takes what you can get. We do have lots of cabbage though...

April 16, 2015
 

Becki

Made this for supper tonight and my husband and I loved it! I didn't want to fiddle with artichokes and the asparagus in the store looks so good...so that's what we used instead. The recipe is so simple, all the ingredients matter. The pickled celery and olives really lifted the creamy beans. Thanks so much for presenting what I really wanted to eat today!

April 16, 2015
 

Wow. You just combined all of my favorite foods in one dish: pickled veggies, beans and artichokes. I think I love you. No, I know I love you. I can't wait to make this salad! Thanks for another great recipe :)
xo,
tina

April 16, 2015
 

Heidi! I feel like I could have written your entire first paragraph. What an uncanny & similar growing-up experience! My parents still live in Saratoga (on the cusp of Los Gatos... Villa Montalvo off of Highway 9), but I am dreading the day they decide to sell their house. I love that area so very much, and it's definitely a locale of respite for me. As always, I really enjoy the way you see the world. I hope to see you tomorrow!

April 17, 2015
 

I totally understand your mixed feelings towards them selling your family house. My mum sold ours about 10 years ago, and I still go for drives past the house when I'm home, remembering every twist and turn in the once gravel road. xx

April 18, 2015
 

CoffeeCup

Is there another name/spelling for cockagne? Cannot find this bean at the store or information online. I love your recipes Heidi !

HS: Hi CC - I bought them at my neighborhood farmers' market from Fifth Crow Farm. I'll ask them next time if they are known by other names. Great little bean!

April 19, 2015
 

What an beautiful dish recipe and i appreciate your efforts and very beautifully its looks i will sure try at my home.

Cocagne Bean & Artichoke Salad

Love and thanks for it..

April 20, 2015
 

Whenever I don't know what to do with the lovely local beans I have bought, I usually search your website for inspiration. This is just lovely. I love all of the flavors here.

April 20, 2015
 

Artichokes are so good in salads people really should be using this little bud more! I was about to use all sorts of grain and nuts with these to get a little protein punch in.

April 20, 2015
 

Oh man, I've never seen baby artichokes before, but now I feel like I have to find them...

April 20, 2015
 

I usually pair artichokes with chickpeas, my favourite beans!
But I'll give it a go next time I'll cook a batch of cannellini beans.
I so relate to what you say about being able to visit the house where you grew up: I moved 7 meters far from my parents house, I don't know how I could live somewhere else! :)

April 21, 2015
 

This salad looks amazing. I wanted to find a good recipe that will help incorporate more artichoke. Have you tried using frozen artichoke or jarred? I have been a little nervous on how to pick and clean artichokes. I look forward to trying this recipe soon.

HS: Hi Sarah - you can certainly experiment with either of those. Make sure they're thawed, and then pan-fry!

April 24, 2015
 

John

Before I took my first bite of the assembled salad, I told myself I would never make this again as it was pretty time consuming for a novice cook. However, I just finished eating and this was absolutely delicious, far surpassing my expectations. Definitely will do again!

Substituted cannellini and butter beans for your white beans. Also subbed toasted hazelnuts for the walnut because I had a lot left over from another recipe. Next time I'll probably just use frozen artichoke hearts to seriously cut back on the time; I also had a problem with the baby chokes falling apart.

Thank you!

April 27, 2015
 

I just made this recipe, and it's absolutely delicious. The one thing I added was a big squeeze of lemon juice. I went a little light on the olives to satisfy the olive-hater in my house, so that's probably why it needed some 'punch.' I definitely recommend pan-frying the artichokes, and also adding some celery leaves to the pickle. Thanks for another great, satisfying vegetarian recipe, Heidi! You know I love ya!

April 29, 2015
 

Oh! I forgot to say that I used frozen, defrosted artichokes, for those who were asking can you substitute. Artichokes are my second favorite vegetable, and sometimes, it pains me to take a short cut with such a gorgeous veggie, but time is running thin these days. I feel like frozen artichokes are better than canned because of the salt in the brine/marinade they're packed in. Frozen artichoke hearts should just be plain hearts, IQF.

April 29, 2015