This simple and rustic Spanish recipe shows what a perfect match chickpeas and tuna are. Both ingredients have been eaten and enjoyed together throughout Spain for centuries. In this hearty dish they’re combined in a smoky tomato sauce made with garlic and onion, with a healthy measure of extra virgin olive oil to add depth and texture.
Robust ingredients commonly used in Spanish cooking are added, including sliced stuffed olives and red wine vinegar to heighten, but not overpower, the natural flavors of the other ingredients. The pairing of tuna and chickpeas isn’t only flavorsome, it also makes a very filling and nourishing meal that’s rich in both protein and fiber.
Serve this braise with crusty bread on the side to mop up every last bit of the luscious sauce, but you could also serve it with rice instead. Another accompaniment is crispy, golden pan-fried sliced potatoes, which is kind of like another classic Spanish recipe, Patatas Bravas. You could also use this mixture to stuff a baked potato, as a tasty empanada filling, or even served as a pasta sauce.
A rustic and flavorful Spanish dish of chickpeas cooked in a smoky tomato sauce, with canned tuna, and stuffed olives provided two hefty portions. Easily doubled for more diners. Our initial apprehension of too little tuna, was unfounded. We kept the ingredients the same as the original recipe and it was a perfect balance of flavors and textures.
Variations: Instead of canned chickpeas use white beans, or add some chorizo (cooked with the onion) in place of canned tuna. Serve with rice or potatoes instead of crusty bread.
Local tomatoes are king this time of year so we try to use them in a variety of ways almost everyday during the season. Here’s a simple summer tomato salad recipe that makes the most of—and uses up—some of the tomato bounty from your garden or local farm market.
America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) discovered that salting the tomatoes before mixing them into the salad brings out their juices, which make a great base for the dressing. Another discovery was there’s no need to peel homegrown tomatoes for a tomato salad recipe, because their skins are usually thin and unobtrusive.
The amounts of the ingredients are subjective to your own preferences. If you prefer tuna packed in oil, go ahead and use it; in fact, save the drained oil from the tuna and use it instead of, or with, the remaining olive oil. No blanching or cooking needed here!
The olives, red onions and capers are boldly flavored Mediterranean standbys, typically a healthy diet to follow. It’s a great option to bring on a picnic or to enjoy lunch at your community pool.
While we are on the subject of great tomato recipes, I have to give a shout out to the Heirloom Tomato Tart(shown above) that I blogged about 4 years ago. If you are also interested in that recipe just click on the link. The tomato salad recipe is below.
12 large black olives, such as Kalamata or other brine-cured variety, pitted and chopped
¼ cup red onion, chopped fine
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
Ground black pepper
1 6-oz. can solid white tuna in water, or oil-packed if preferred
Core and halve tomatoes, then cut each half into 1/2″ thick wedges. Toss wedges with salt in large bowl; let rest until small pool of liquid accumulates, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk oil, lemon juice, capers, olives, onion, parsley, and pepper to taste in small bowl. Pour mixture over tomatoes and accumulated liquid; toss to coat. Set aside to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
Crumble tuna over tomatoes; toss to combine. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.
Orecchiette Puttanesca with Tuna and White Beans is a hearty pasta dinner with a bold, briny puttanesca sauce that finds delicious partners in creamy white beans and flaked tuna. And the fact that it is a one-pot wonder, well, that is a bit of a misnomer.
In fact, it is anything but. Yes, the meal itself is made in one pot but you’ll need a couple of strainers for the white beans and capers, and possibly the the tuna if you want to drain and save the oil (which we did) and use that instead of additional olive oil. Plus, how about a bowl to hand-crush the whole tomatoes? And measuring cups to reserve the pasta water, and… well, you get my drift.
But let’s run with the concept. First boil the pasta, drain it, then use the same pot to make the sauce. Orecchiette pasta is preferred because the small saucer shapes catch bits of the olives, capers and tuna. Originally, the consistency of the sauce is kept on the “soupy” side; but stir in additional pasta water at the end to adjust the consistency to suit your taste.
As far as the amount of canned tuna in oil, only 5 ounces for an entire pound of pasta!?! Are you nuts? I used two 7-ounce cans, nearly three times the amount called for, and it was by no means overwhelming.
It’s important to rinse and drain the beans. If their starchy liquid makes it into the pot, it will turn the sauce thick and heavy. Don’t worry about removing the garlic cloves (do what?!) after they’re lightly browned. They’ll soften and break apart slightly as the sauce cooks.
Even if you do use more than one pot, the dish is well worth it and we loved the fact that there was leftovers for a couple of more meals.
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup pitted green or black olives (or a combination), roughly chopped
¼ cup drained capers, rinsed and patted dry
28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
15½ oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
5 oz. can olive oil-packed tuna, drained and flaked (we used 2, 7-oz. cans)
⅓ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve 2½ cups of the cooking water, then drain.
In the same pot over medium, combine the oil and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is light golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes.
Add the pepper flakes, olives and capers. Increase to medium-high and cook, stirring, until the capers begin to brown, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes with juices along with the beans, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in 1½ cups of the reserved water and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Add the orecchiette and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, 2 to 4 minutes; add more reserved water if needed to thin.
Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Off heat, stir in the tuna and parsley. Serve drizzled with additional oil.