This warm bean and tuna salad is one of my all
For a delicious version of a classic tonno e fagioli, combine garlicky beans with sliced pepper, proper tuna and a few greasy black olives
Much of my store cupboard is the usual hodgepodge of cheap tins, poorly labelled spice jars, a disorganised array of baking ingredients and half eaten packets of noodles.
Just occasionally though, in among all the usual suspects, you’ll find a tall jar of posh, creamy beans, a tin of lovely anchovies brought back from a holiday, or (the real prize) some proper tuna – the pale, delicate kind, packed in olive oil and bearing no resemblance to a tin of John West.
I say occasionally, because whenever I fork out for the expensive stuff it doesn’t last long; I want to cook with it immediately. In the chicer and more financially solvent version of my life, I have a walk-in pantry with shelves lined with these sorts of jars.
There are Mutti chopped tomatoes and only the really nice pasta and matching Kilners filled with every pulse known to man. That being a somewhat unachievable dream for now, I’ll stick with treating myself to the occasional jar of the good stuff and coming up with delicious ways to make the most of it.
I love an assembly job dinner – the kind which takes a few ingredients that are already good and doesn’t do much to them other than to dress and season them well and bring them together on a plate. A classic tonno e fagioli is one of my all time favourite summer dinners. Something about the fresh parsley and the thwack of raw red onion – I could eat buckets of it. This version, which warms the beans in garlic and olive oil and adds a thinly sliced jarred pepper and a few greasy black olives, is so good.
It serves two very comfortably – three or even four if you’re going to be serving it with a couple of other salads (warm green beans tossed in a punchy vinaigrette would be good, as would something involving charred corn and maybe some feta, or just some great tomatoes with finely chopped shallot). Nice bread is essential, preferably slightly warm with very cold salty butter. Warm crusty bread and cold butter is God-tier food. On second thoughts I might just have that, hold the tuna and beans.