Salad of Cannellini Beans, Poached Oregon Albacore Tuna Conserva, Red Onions, House Giardiniera, and Olive Oil

Adapted by
December 2011


Poached Oregon Albacore Tuna Conserva
1½ pounds fresh Oregon albacore tuna, brought to room temperature
1 quart extra virgin olive oil, light in flavor but with good aromatics
4 sprigs fresh thyme
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Zest of 1 lemon, peeled with a vegetable peeler, without the white pith
Cannellini Beans
2½ cups dried cannellini beans
10 cups water
5 sage leaves
5 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
Giardiniera: (Adapted from Quick Pickles, by Chris Schlesinger)
1⅓ cups carrots, seeded and cut to strips lengthwise
1⅓ red bell peppers, whole or halved
1⅓ radishes, cut into 4-inch strips
1⅓ celery, cut into bite sized florets
1⅓ cauliflower, trimmed whole
1⅓ baby turnips, peeled and crushed
7 large garlic cloves and thyme sprigs
3 cups fresh oregano
3 cups Champagne vinegar
1¾ tablespoons water
2 tablespoon sugar
1 kosher salt
4 teaspoons bay leaves
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 black peppercorns
To Assemble and Serve
1 onion
black peppercorns


For the Poached Oregon Albacore Tuna Conserva:
Cut the fish into 1-inch thick, 6 or 7-ounce portions. Put the olive oil in a saucepan that will hold the fish fillets in a single layer. Add the thyme, garlic, peppercorns and lemon zest and heat over a low heat to 150°F for about 15 minutes. Add the fish and adjust the heat to maintain a temperature of about 130°F. It will take about 8 to 10 minutes for tuna to be done. It should be just opaque almost throughout. Let the tuna cool in the oil and refrigerate in its oil. It will keep for several days. The oil, kept refrigerated, can be strained and used once more for poaching more tuna (do not add any more aromatics and discard when tuna is used.).

For the Cannellini Beans:
Soak the beans in the water for at least 8 hours or overnight at room temperature (if longer, soak in the refrigerator).

Strain the beans and put in a 3 quart saucepan and cover with 10 cups fresh water.

Add the sage, garlic and olive oil, and bring to a boil, skimming off any scum that forms. Cover and simmer over the lowest possible heat until tender. (Alternatively the beans can be brought to a simmer, placed in a 250°F oven, covered and cooked until tender). Cool the beans for 15 minutes in their liquid before adding salt to taste. Drain when ready to serve.

For the Giardiniera:
In a large non-reactive container, combine the carrots, peppers, radishes, celery, cauliflower, and turnips with the garlic, oregano and thyme and mix well. In a medium non-reactive saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, bay leaves, fennel seeds and peppercorns and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a low heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Immediately pour the hot vinegar mixture over the vegetables and mix gently. Allow to cool at room temperature, uncovered, then cover and refrigerate. The pickles taste best in 3 days and will last for a month, covered and refrigerated.

To Assemble and Serve:
Soak the sliced onions in cold water, squeezing with your hands and changing water every 10 minutes, until the onions are sweet and mild, about 1 hour. Drain well. Combine the Cannellini Beans and Poached Oregon Albacore Tuna Conserva and moisten generously with reserved oil. Arrange on a platter, top with the onion and garnish with Giardiniera, drizzling with a little of its pickling juice. Garnish with red onion and grind black pepper over the salad. Serve at room temperature.