Tuna, White Bean & Chick Pea SaladHere y'go Tessa. This is an old standby, and lends itself well to mixing up ingredients and changing proportions. Sometimes I'll add some finely diced celery, a friend suggested radishes - I don't know about that - and I thought about using some seeded tomato diced to be about 1/2 the size of the beans, and also some artichoke hearts, or even better, artichoke bottoms cut about the size of the beans. You might consider playing around with a sprinkle of your favorite fresh herbs. Have fun ...
Tuna and Bean Salad
This recipe idea came from a salad I had tasted from a local Italian deli and a recipe copied from a book back in 1972. It reflects my love of chick peas and good quality canned or jarred Italian or Spanish tuna. While a ventresca tuna is a nice touch for this salad, a somewhat less expensive tuna will be fine as long as it’s packed in good quality olive oil. There is a brand found in the US that’s available at Trader Joe’s and some supermarkets called Genova - that’s not recommended. Some people like it, but I find it to be a pale and insipid version of a good Italian or Spanish tuna packed in good olive oil. From what I can tell, the tuna is packed/marketed by the people who bring you Chicken of the Sea, not one of the quality brands of canned tuna.
While this recipe calls for canned beans, lately I've started using dried and cooking them up myself, allowing for better control of taste and texture. Good canned beans are fine ...
1 can (15-oz) cannellini beans, other white beans will work
1 can (15-oz) garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1/4 cup or less of extra virgin olive oil (Tuscan or Spanish)
1 Tbs of fresh squeezed lemon juice, maybe add a few pieces of lemon zest as well, diced fine
a little bit of your favorite sea salt
some fresh, coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions, red onions, or even shallots (I like red onions)
1/4 cup finely diced mild red peppers - bell, gypsy, jimmy nardello, etc
1 to 4 Tbs finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, to your taste - 2-Tbs works for me
1 can or jar (about 7-oz) Italian or Spanish tuna packed in good olive oil
Rinse, drain, and dry the beans and chick peas. You can dry them on paper or clean, lint-free, cloth towels or warm them in a dry skillet over low heat. When dried, put the beans and chick peas in a small bowl that will easily hold them.
Take the tuna and drain it thoroughly, saving the oil. Add the saved oil to some EVOO to make no more than 1/4 cup total - a little less is ok, you can always add more EVOO if the salad is too dry for your taste.
Mix together the lemon juice, lemon zest if using, the salt and pepper, and then add it to the olive oil, and pour the mixture over the beans. Add the onions, peppers, and parsley and gently mix together with the beans. Let the mixture sit a while so the beans absorb some flavor.
Put the beans on a serving platter, then break the drained tuna into chunks and put over the beans in a nice pattern. Maybe drizzle a little EVOO over the tuna, and then serve.