Fagioli e tonno

Fagioli e tonno (Tunafish Bean Salad)

In antipasti by Frank2 Comments

Fagioli e tonno, or Tuna Bean Salad, is just about as simple a dish as you can make. If you can open a can, you can can make this salad! And it’s easy to double or treble the recipe if you’re expecting more dinner guests, or you just feel extra-hungry.

Fagioli e tonno is generally considered an antipasto, but we often have it as a main course for a light supper in warm weather. You can serve it just as is or over a bed of lettuce. It also is a nice component in a buffet.

Ingredients

Makes enough for 4 persons as an antipasto

  • One can of cannellini beans
  • One can of tunafish in olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • A few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • A good glug of best-quality, extra virgin olive oil (about 1/3 cup)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Pour the beans into a colander and rinse them. Toss the colander around to drain the beans well.

Mix the beans and tunafish in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss well. If it’s a little dry, add more oil. Adjust for seasoning.

You can serve this immediately or make ahead.

Notes on Fagioli e tonno

The choice of tuna is pretty crucial here. You want tuna packed in olive oil. If you are feeling extravagant, there are some imported tuna of the ventresca type—fillets of tuna belly—that are wonderful if expensive. Otherwise, Cento, Progresso, Ortiz and Genova brands are all fine choices. If you can find Sicilian yellowfin tuna, which is wonderful, and if you’re willing to shell out $6 a can (plus shipping), that’s the best choice of all.

The ‘real’ recipe for fagioli e tonno calls for dried cannellini beans that you will have soaked and cooked yourself. They’re the best choice for special occasions, but for an everyday quick meal, canned beans will do just fine. Just be sure to rinse the beans well before using to eliminate the can juices, which give the beans an off taste. (You should do that whenever you use canned beans.)

Other beans would make for an interesting variation, chickpeas and tuna being a fairly common one in Italy. I’m very partial to switching out both main ingredients in my Chickpea and Sardine Salad. And I sometimes add chopped tomato, in season, which makes for a pleasant change.

The traditional recipe for fagioli e tonno, which is originally from Tuscany, calls for red onions, typical of Tuscan cooking). They are your first and most authentic choice, but the mild flavor of white onions is also quite nice. Scallions aren’t bad either (and that’s what we had on hand tonight). You can use regular yellow onions in a pinch. Since their taste is a bit too harsh to eat raw, soak them in cold water to remove some of the harshness and pat dry before adding them to the salad.

 

Fagioli e tonno (Tunafish and Bean Salad)

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 as an antipasto

Ingredients

  • One can of cannellini beans
  • One can of tunafish in olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • A few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • A good glug of best-quality, extra virgin olive oil (about 1/3 cup)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Pour the beans into a colander and rinse them. Toss the colander around to drain the beans well.
  2. Mix the beans and tunafish in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss well. If it's a little dry, add more oil. Adjust for seasoning.
  3. You can serve this immediately or make ahead.
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  1. Pingback: Insalata di patate e tonno (Potato Tuna Salad) | Memorie di Angelina

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