It seems fitting that this post should be as succinct, straightforward and swift – three admirable qualities I’m not generally noted for – as this lunch. It could of course be supper.
Fat, tender white beans, cannellini or haricot, drained and mixed with the best tuna packed in oil you can afford (look for tuna belly which is called ventresca, good Italian grocery shops will sell it by weight from a large round tin), thin slices of spring or red onion, a flick of coarse salt and plentiful extra virgin olive oil. Serve with bread – or toast if your bread is a little jaded – and the bottle of olive oil nearby in case you need another glug. Fork in one hand, bread in the other, I particulary like the scoop, squash and mop involved in this meal. Needless to say, a glass of wine would be nice.
The artichokes I preserved under oil are ready, so I popped open the first jar and sliced three of the pale hearts into the deliciously oily heap the Italians call fagioli toscani col tonno.
Lunch. One of my favourites.
This is also a fine antipasti. I’d double the quantities for 4 – 6 people, afterall leftovers, if there are any, are always welcome. Perfect alongside a dish of olives, a few red radishes and some good bread.
White beans with tuna and onion
Serves 2 (technically !)
- 6oz/150g best quality tuna packed in oil, lightly drained.
- 15oz/400g of white beans (cannellini or haricot) drained – you can of course soak and cook your own.
- a small red onion or 2 or 3 spring onions finely sliced.
- extra virgin olive oil
- coarse salt like Maldon
- freshly ground black pepper.
Put the beans, onion and tuna in a bowl, then using a wooden spoon gently stir and break up the tuna into nice fat flakes. Sprinkle over a little salt, season with black pepper and pour over the olive oil liberally – quite how liberally is entirely up to you. Serve with bread.