Who says that you cannot enjoy a refreshing salad even in a cold and maybe snowy February? Well, usually I would for sure agree with that, but in these days it may start warming up a little, and probably because of my “pregnant condition” I have started to crave for this delicious beans salad that reminds me of my childhood and my beloved Italy. Indeed, this easy salad is very popular in the North Eastern of Italy, as a complete meal in a warm summer day or for a cook out and pretty much at all those “little town festivals and fairs” were it is served as a side dish to steaks and ribs. The fact that the beans are mixed with tuna and anchovies paste for some reason doesn’t give the salad a “sea food” taste at all, but a creamy, delicate, irresistible savor.
In regards to preparation time, the salad “per se” is pretty easy and fast, you just have to combine all the ingredients together… the annoying part is to soak the dried beans overnight, and after that simmer them for long time enough to make them tender, but not too long to avoid them to split.
INGREDIENTS for about 8-10 servings
6 cups water for the soaking
1 bay leave
1 spring of rosemary
1 medium sized carrot washed and peeled
1 beef buillon
1 lb. dried pinto beans
1 lb. celery hearts washed and cut in thin slices
2 cans tuna in olive oil (please, not the one in water!!!)
1 tbs. anchovies paste
1 peeled clove of garlic
5-6 tbs. fresh parsley
olive oil to taste (but not less that 4-5 tbs.)
red wine vinegar to taste (I would suggest at least 3-4 tbs.)
black pepper to taste
sea salt to taste
Sort and rinse the beans and soak in 6 cups of water. The direction in the beans package says 6 cups of water every 1 lb. beans and apparently this proportion is important because if you oversoak the beans they may split. Let beans and water stand overnight. Once the beans have been soaked (so supposedly the morning after you soak them) pour them in a big pot full of clean water, put the bay leaf, one stick of celery, the rosemary, the carrot and the beef buillon. Let the water reaching the boiling point and cook the beans until they are tender (mine were done in 30 minutes). Again: don’t overcook otherwise you will get beans puree ! The color of the water will get pretty dark in the meanwhile.. don’t worry, absolutely normal! Once the beans are cooked, let them cool off in the pot (it may take a couple of hours) and throw away the bay leaf, celery, rosemary. Be very careful, if you are in a hurry and try to take the beans out of the pot when they are not cooled off, the probability for them to split is pretty high. You can use a colander for drying them.
In the meantime, in a big bowl, combine: tuna, peeled garlic, anchovies paste. Chop the parsley, wash and cut in thin slices the celery heart.
Add the cooked beans to the tuna and mix together with the celery and parsley. Dress with olive oil, wine vinegar, sea salt and black pepper and keep refrigerated until the day after… they will taste much better after being stored in a cool place overnight.
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
TIP: – To prepare this salad I used PINTO BEANS, and it turned out pretty identical to those I ate in Italy. As for “Tuna in olive oil” I have to say that the GENOVA branded that can easily be found at Walmart, it’s not as good as the Italian one, but could absolutely can be used as a substitute (remember, I don’t make any money buy suggesting you what ingredients to buy).
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