Tuna and White Bean Salad.
I hate cooking in the summertime; but then, who doesn’t? I’m always looking for the next great cold salad. So imagine how thrilled I was to come across a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis that incorporates some of my favorite ingredients all in one dish. My rendition here is a bit different from Giada’s; I added and subtracted, mixed and matched, pushed and pulled, until I came up with a flavor profile that just knocks me out,
Giada offers arugula in her recipe, and if that suits you, then fine. I made it with watercress, and really like the extra zing. You can also use a milder green, such as red- or green-leaf lettuce, if you prefer. But go easy on the greens for this one. The flavor of the herbs and oil and vinegars are the real stars of this dish.
2 (6-ounce) cans premium-grade solid white tuna, packed in water
2 (15-ounce) cans cannelini white beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup small capers, nonpareil in brine, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons premium-grade balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic-infused EV olive oil (I make my own *see note)
Sea salt and fresh ground black AND white pepper
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 scallions, green parts only, chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper, no seeds
2 cups fresh arugula or watercress
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (optional)
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
6 fresh basil leaves
1. In a large bowl, add the tuna, breaking into bite-size pieces with a large fork. Add the beans, chopped jalapeno, and capers.
2. Into the bowl, add the olive oils and vinegars. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Pour dressing on the tuna, bean and caper mixture and allow the flavors to infuse while slicing the vegetables.
4. Add the onion, scallion, rosemary, and tomatoes to tuna mixture and toss gently. Adjust the taste with more salt and pepper, to taste.
5. Place the greens on large a decorative platter and top with tuna mixture. Tear fresh basil leaves over the top, sprinkle with a bit more balsamic vinegar, and serve immediately.
- Note: Garlic-infused EV olive oil: peel the cloves of 1 whole head of garlic, smash lightly, and place in a saucepan with 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Heat until the cloves begin to bubble. Then turn the heat down to medium low and sweat the garlic cloves until they JUST begin to lightly brown, about 30-35 minutes. Turn the heat off, and allow to cool completely. Carefully strain through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth to remove all the garlic pieces. Be sure to remove all the garlic pieces; this is important. Any remaining garlic pieces will grow bacteria. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.