White Bean Tuna Salad

Here’s a recipe that fits the first day of Spring… or maybe I should say a sunny day with temperatures in the 70’s since not all of us are enjoying such fine weather. It’s white bean tuna salad, a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis c/o the Food Network. This is a oil/vinegar-based tuna salad and not the mayo-based concoction that is so common (blah).

2 (6-ounce) cans dark meat tuna, packed in olive oil
2 (15-ounce) cans cannelini white beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup small capers, nonpareil in brine, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 cups fresh arugula
6 fresh basil leaves

In a large bowl, add the tuna, reserving the olive oil in a separate small bowl. Break tuna into bite-size pieces with a large fork. Add the beans and capers. Into the bowl of olive oil, add the red wine vinegar. You should have 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil – add more extra-virgin olive oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing on the tuna, bean and caper mixture and allow the flavors to infuse while slicing the vegetables. Add the onion and tomatoes to tuna mixture and toss gently. Place the arugula on large decorative platter and top with tuna mixture. Tear fresh basil leaves over the top and serve immediately.

The recipe calls for dark meat tuna in oil. Good luck on that one. When I first started making this recipe, HT stocked dark meat tuna in oil. No more. The best I can do now is yellow fin tuna in olive oil with garlic. The garlic changes that taste, but not enough that its bothersome.

One other note on tuna. Due to the product downsizing of the last year or so, tuna is no longer available in 6 oz. cans. It now comes in 5 oz. cans. That means you either get by with 2 oz. less or you go with 3 oz. more (three cans). I go with three cans.

If you can’t find cannelini beans, white beans will do.  Half a medium red onion is more than enough. One pint of grape tomatoes, halved, is close enough to 1-1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes (and they taste better too).

On the oil to vinegar ratio, I flip it the other way.  I do 1 part olive oil to 2 part vinegar. Why, because if you go with the original ratio your tuna will be swimming in oil. I think its because there is so much oil in canned tuna. With the oil you drain from the cans I usually add two additional tablespoons.

Don’t substitute for the arugula.  Its simply not the same on any other green.

p.s. You can (and I have) made tuna salad sandwiches with this recipe.  Instead of the plate, simply substitute two pieces of bread.

~ by Genevieve on 2010.03.21.

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