About beans: You can cook your own beans or simply open a can (365 brand from Whole Foods is good). If using canned beans, it's a good idea to rinse them in a colander since the liquid can be rather starchy.
About the fear of mandolines: They don't need to be scary. Follow instructions in this video and wear a cut resistant glove.
For the dressing:
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
For the salad:
4 cups cooked and drained cannellini beans
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced 1mm thin on a mandoline (video)
10 radishes, sliced 1mm thin on a mandoline
1/2 medium red onion, sliced 1mm thin on a mandoline
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (dill, mint, parsley, basil, tarragon all work too) (video)
Salt and Pepper
- You need to turn garlic into a completely smooth paste. You can either grate it on a Microplane zester, or mince it with a chef's knife, sprinkle with salt, and rub with the flat side of your knife until it becomes a paste.
- In a small bowl, combine mashed garlic, lime juice, and mustard. Mix well with a fork. Slowly pour in the oil mixing constantly.
- In a large bowl, combine beans, fennel, radishes, onion, cilantro (or whatever herb you are using). Pour in the dressing, season with salt and pepper. Mix well and taste.
- Adjust seasoning as needed (you might need more lime juice, salt, or oil). I like the veggies to taste almost pickled, so my dressing for this dish is very astringent. If you like it more mellow, add more olive oil. Don't be dainty with salt either. There needs to be a good balance of saltiness and acidity.
Ideally, you want to serve it right away, but it's one of those salads whose leftovers will live happily in your fridge for a day.