No Cooking Required

Bring out that EASY button again. Some nights (many?) you just don’t feel like cooking, and Spinach and White Bean Salad with Tuna not only fulfills that wish, but you’ll be bowled over by the fabulous taste and healthy ingredients.

The bright, fresh combination of endive and spinach makes this salad an elegant lunch or light dinner. Water-packed canned tuna works fine, but oil-packed tuna has a richer, more satisfying flavor. Whenever possible splurge for the good stuffed packed in olive oil. We wait until La Tienda is having a sale, then we order a lot of Spanish ingredients—in this case, Serrats White Tuna in Olive Oil.

And if you’re using the high-end tuna, drain the oil into a container and use 3 tablespoons of that for the dressing instead of tossing it out. However, if canned tuna in water is what you have, then you will want to incorporate a good extra-virgin olive oil.

As an added bonus we sliced up some pitted black olives as a garnish on the salad. While it is best eaten shortly after tossing the ingredients, we had enough leftover for two lunches the next day. Yes, the spinach was a bit more wilted, but the flavors were just as wonderful.

A make-ahead option is to assemble the salad up to the point of incorporating the endive and spinach, mixing that in just before you serve. This will be a perfect recipe for the hot summer months…

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The capers, garlic, salt and pepper will get minced together as a paste.

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Cut half of a red onion into very thin slices.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. brine-packed capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 5-oz. cans albacore tuna, drained
  • 1 15-oz. can cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 6 oz. (6 packed cups) baby spinach
  • 2 heads red or white Belgian endive, coarsely chopped

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Draining the oil from the good Spanish tuna for use in the dressing.

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The garlic caper paste gets mixed with lemon juice and the drained oil.

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Large tuna flakes are mixed into the dressing.

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Just prior to adding the greens, toss in the beans and onion. If you’re not going to eat right away, wait to add the spinach and endive.

Directions

Using a chef’s knife, mince and mash the capers and garlic with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Scrape into a large bowl and whisk in the lemon juice and mustard. In a slow stream, whisk in the oil until emulsified. Add the tuna, flaking it into large pieces, then the beans, onion, spinach, and endive. Toss gently with the dressing and serve.

by Liz Pearson from Fine Cooking

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