Monday, January 14, 2013

Tuna-white bean salad: 3 ingredients, many variations

I often make a salad of canned tuna (in olive oil), white kidney beans and a dressing of olive oil and sherry vinegar. I add a little black pepper and whatever fresh herbs I happen to have on hand, and enjoy it on a green salad or tossed with pasta.

Last time I reached into the pantry for the tuna and beans, I noticed a jar of roasted red pepper and artichoke tapenade. When I stirred it into the tuna and beans, I discovered that it replaced not only the oil and vinegar but provided all the seasonings. The salad didn't even need salt or black pepper.

I had a bunch of green onions in the refrigerator, so I sliced one into thin rings and added it and some minced parsley for even more flavor.

This would work with some other types of tapanades and bruschetta spreads as well. Experiment, tasting as you go. You may be delighted with the salad you concoct.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 (5-ounce) cans tuna packed in olive oil
1 (15-ounce) white kidney (cannellini) beans
1 cup roasted red pepper and artichoke tapenade or to taste
Chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley or chives), optional
Chopped green onions (green part only, optional)

Empty tuna into a colander; drain and discard oil. Transfer tuna to a bowl. Flake tuna with a fork.

Pour beans into the colander. Rinse and drain well. Add to the tuna. Add tapenade along with herbs and green onions, if using. Mix gently but well.

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for a few hours. (After a day in the fridge, the garlic in the tapenade I used overwhelmed the other ingredients.) Let come to room temperature before serving. If desired, serve over salad greens or mix with hot cooked pasta, then serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: This recipe can be halved. Refrigerate the leftover beans for another use.

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