April 5, 2012
Tuna and White Bean Salad
by Gareth Mark
Spring has been early in Western North Carolina and summer approaches. Time to start thinking of whole-meal salads that do not require cooking.
Recently I composed this salad and thought it would be a good inspiration for the hot days of summer. The most important ingredients in the salad are tuna and white beans. I opened a can of Cannellini beans as well as a can of tuna in olive oil. Poached tuna is best preserved in olive oil; water dilutes the flavor of the fish and adds nothing nutritionally. After draining, the beans and tuna were laid onto a bed of baby Romaine lettuces. Additional salad ingredients included a thinly sliced carrot, a peeled and sliced cucumber, sliced scallions (white part only), and diced red bell pepper.
For dressing I could have used an Italian dressing with a bit of lemon juice added to give it some fresh flavor. Instead I made a simple vinaigrette using six parts lemon fused olive oil, one part traditional balsamic vinegar, and one part white wine vinegar to make a 3:1 vinaigrette. Had I used only white wine vinegar it might have been a bit too tart at that ratio, but the balsamic sweetened the dressing somewhat, producing just the right level of acidity. To complete the vinaigrette, I tossed in some dried herbs (an Italian blend), some shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, a pinch of Murray River Pink Salt, and some freshly cracked pepper.
This made an excellent dinner for two; more people or larger appetites might require additional cans of tuna and beans. A glass of wine and al fresco dining completed this quick and easy meal.