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Monday, May 2, 2011

Insalata di Ceci e Tonno

Yum, yum, yum! Or as the youngsters say, Nom, nom, nom! This is my lunch for the week. I threw it together on Sunday and realized that it must be a recipe, right? Something this good can't have escaped notice for this long. A google search brought me to Insalata di Ceci e Tonno. This salad deserves an Italian name said with flourish! My version has more ingredients than most I found. Mine also has a Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar based vinaigrette rather than a lemon juice based one. In any case, I enjoyed my lunch very much. Unfortunately, my shirt did too.

I love salad for lunch, but salads, generally, seem to be a distinct danger to the wardrobe. Because beet salad is one of my favorites, I often eat in the privacy of my cubicle so no one will see my extreme measures. (One of which is a napkin tucked in like a bib.) I didn't think these little beans would be just as rascally, but they bounce! Then they roll! One wrong jab with a fork and a tuna oil covered chick pea has made contact with the blouse and continues to make contact down the blouse as it rolls gently to the floor. I'm glad my expeditions under my desk to retrieve errant food stuffs are also relatively private.

That being said, this salad is delicious, and forewarned is forearmed (or fore-napkined). If you make this you must use Genova Tonno. It is beautiful Italian tuna packed in olive oil. So not local, but so unique that if you don't can your own tuna or salmon in olive oil you will not have any alternative. (If there are local alternatives, please tell me!)

Insalata de Ceci e Tonno
1 cup dried garbanzo beans
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tbsp. sliced green onion
1 carrot, diced small
1 celery stalk, diced small
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 5 oz. can Genova Tonno, drained, oil reserved
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 glove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. coarse Dijon style mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Well in advance, sort, rinse and soak the beans. A quick soak can be done by placing the beans in a medium sauce pot and covering with several inches of water. Bring to a boil, turn off heat and let stand for at least one hour. Place on the heat and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for up to two hours or until soft. Alternatively, sort, rinse and soak the beans in plenty of water overnight. I often soak in the fridge, although you don't have to if you change the water when you cook them the next day. Overnight soaked beans will take a slightly shorter time to reach tenderness.

When the beans are done, rinse with cold water and allow to drain well as you prepare the other ingredients. Add the beans, parsley, green onion, carrot, celery and cherry tomatoes to a mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine the olive oil from the tuna, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard and vinegar and whisk well. Add the dressing mixture to the salad and toss. Can be served warm, room temp or chilled.

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