To make this dish outside of peak summer, stock up on cranberry beans and uber-ripe tomatoes at the farmer’s market. Shell the beans, dice the tomatoes, and store in an airtight container in the freezer for months. Defrost, then cook the beans and blend up the vinaigrette whenever you’d like.
- Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Place lemon, garlic, chile, and three of the onion quarters in the pot, cut side down (set the other onion half aside for now). Cook until charred, about 5 minutes.
- Add cranberry beans to the pot along with a small handful of salt. Cover the mixture with water by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Cook until beans are tender, about 25-35 minutes (start tasting at 25). Remove pot from the heat and drain well, discarding the lemon, garlic, chile, and onion. Place the beans in a medium bowl and cool.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice remaining onion through the root end. Place in a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water for 1 minute (this cuts some of the onion's sharpness). Drain well and transfer to a small bowl. Toss the onions with vinegar and a pinch of salt, let pickle for 15 minutes, and then drain 2 tablespoons of the vinegar into a blender. Toss pickled onion mixture with cooled beans.
- Roughly chop tomatoes and transfer to the blender with vinegar. With the motor running, stream in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste, then pour into a shallow serving bowl.
- Spoon bean mixture over the vinaigrette. Drizzle with olive oil and top with snipped chives and pepper. Serve with toast rubbed with remaining clove of garlic.
Rebecca Firkser is a New York City-based food writer and cook. Most recently the Culinary Editor at Extra Crispy, Rebecca’s byline has appeared in number of publications, among them Food52, Tasting Table, and Healthyish by Bon Appetit.