Friday, June 18, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Mama's Yankee White Bean Pies and Palm Beach Pasta Salad

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A few weeks ago in this space, I reviewed The Deen Bros. Take It Easy: Quick and Affordable Meals the Whole Family Will Love by Paula Deen's sons, Jamie and Bobby. Along with the review (and a recipe from the book, Quick Braised Chicken and Rosemary New Potatoes), I mentioned a few other dishes I was looking forward to trying.

One of those dishes was Mama's Yankee White Bean Pies, and since then I had the chance to make it for dinner. This one was just as good!  According to the book, the recipe's name comes from Paula Deen's friends who live in Indiana.  "They taught her how to turn a handful of affordable, simple ingredients into these fried-patty sandwiches that will rock your world," writes the Deen Brothers.

Mama's Yankee White Bean Pies
serves 6

Two 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 3/4 cups crushed Ritz crackers (about 35 crackers)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, for frying
1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced for serving
mayonnaise, for serving
12 slices white bread

1. Place the beans in a large bowl.  Mash with a fork or potato masher until the beans are almost smooth, but still a little chunky. Add 3/4 cup of the cracker crumbs, the egg, thyme, salt, and pepper and mix well.  Use your hands to form the mixture into 6 equal-size patties.

2. Place the remaining 1 cup cracker crumbs in a wide shallow bowl. Dip each patty in the cracker crumbs, turning to coat evenly.

3. Heat 1/8 inch olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Fry the patties, tunring once, until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Drain the patties on a paper-towel lined plate.

4. Sandwich each patty, along with sliced onion and a dollop of mayonnaise, between 2 slices of bread and serve.

My notes: I didn't have Ritz crackers, so I substituted some bread crumbs, which held the patties intact well enough. I also didn't have an onion, but I think a carmelized onion would be nice as a topping.  Instead of the mayo, I offered a gourmet champagne mustard that I'd purchased from our recent Flower Market, and we had our sandwiches on Thomas' Bagel Thins instead of white bread.

I would have been fine with just a sandwich, but The Husband wouldn't have preferred just a sandwich for dinner.  Similarly with the kids; knowing that they would probably not be thrilled with this as a dinner, I wanted to have an appealing side dish.  I remembered the leftover spaghetti I had in the fridge ... as well as a recipe for a spaghetti pasta salad from a cookbook I'd purchased during a Florida vacation in 1997.  (Whenever I visit someplace, I usually buy a local cookbook as my souvenir ... that'll be another Weekend Cooking post.)

Palm Beach Pasta Salad is a recipe from A Slice of Paradise: Fresh and Inviting Flavors from the Junior League of the Palm Beaches, first published in October 1996.

1 lb. thin spaghetti or vermicelli, broken into 1 inch pieces, cooked, according to package directions
3 large tomatoes, diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 large red onion, diced
two 2 1/3 oz. cans sliced ripe olives, drained
one 16 oz. bottle Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan or Romano cheese
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tsps. poppy seeds
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp garlic powder.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to blend flavors. 

My recipe strayed so far from this one that I'm not sure a comparison is even justified.  I didn't have any zucchini, the peppers, or olives - and I knew that the presence of seeds would have horrified The Husband and kids.  So, for us, this was pretty much a pasta salad with spaghetti, but I think this salad as indicated would have been really tasty with the bean pies. 

Both the Yankee White Bean Pies and the Palm Beach Pasta Salad were really tasty as leftovers the next day for lunch, too.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Anonymous said...

Both look good, especially the pasta!!

caite said...

those bean patties sound darn interesting. can't say I have ever heard of anything like that.

Beth F said...

As Vicki said -- both look really good. I love the bean dish, but we aren't big on mayo, so I would definitely go with mustard, and maybe a bit of extra herbs or spices. Yummy.