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

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 minutes - Cook time: 20 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • 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..

    Shamit Khemka
  • 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!

    CoffeeCup
  • 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

    Emma Galloway
  • 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!

    Natalie
  • 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

    DessertForTwo
  • 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!

    Becki
  • 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...

    Martina Nicolls
  • 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.

    laura plumb
  • 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

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

    Ciao Florentina
  • 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.

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

    angelica
  • 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!

    Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
  • 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

    Midge
  • 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

    Nikki Graham
  • 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.

    Annie Falk
  • 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.

    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
  • 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.

    Kathryn
  • 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 :-)

    Simone
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