Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tuscan Bean Salad #BloggerCLUE

Perfect picnic fare, this delicious salad of kale, cannellini beans, grape tomatoes and canned tuna can be made ahead because it gets better as all the tasty ingredients spend more time together.  Seriously, we had only the tiniest bowl of leftovers so it got lost but my daughter reclaimed it from the refrigerator four days later. Still delicious! How many salads can say that?!

It’s Blogger C.L.U.E. time again, where I am assigned another blog from our group in which to snoop and find a recipe to share that fits the current theme or “clue,” which is Picnic. My favorite part of this process is getting to know my fellow food bloggers because although we have a love of tasty food in common, it’s great to find other commonalities and learn about their interests, work, families and the cities in which they live. This month I spent time getting acquainted with Kate from Kate’s Kitchen.

Kate and her husband recently moved house and I’ve been following that story with interest because, you know, moving is kind of my thing. I know the drill only too well and it amuses me to read other people’s stories of the trials and tribulations of a move. Kate has done it with aplomb, still working in the field of finance, cooking deliciousness and recently posting a fabulous mushroom lasagna roll from under a pile of boxes with scant kitchen equipment. She’s an avid gardener so her recipes often take advantage of that fresh, homegrown bounty. I’m so jealous of the rich soil of Indiana!

So, I needed to hunt for picnic friendly recipes! I love taking salads along to picnics or potlucks so that’s where I started my search. I was spoiled for choice on Kate’s blog, bookmarking her Blueberry Watermelon Salad with mint and lemon, Lana’s Chicken Salad with roasted chicken, grapes and pecans, her Lemon Apricot Salad with lemon curd (!) stirred through it,  Green Bead Salad with Black Beluga Lentils made with tasty sun-dried tomatoes and salami, and Kate’s lovely Blue Cheese Potato Salad with bacon.  I simply couldn’t not make up my mind until I got to the Tuscan Beans with Tuna. Sold! We ate it for dinner with yesterday's Chickpea Moroccan Flatbread.

The couple of minor changes I made:
I was catering for one vegetarian (younger daughter) who isn’t so strict that meat or fish can’t touch her veggies but she didn’t want to eat the actual tuna so I just made little piles of it on top instead of mixing it in. If you want to make this strictly vegetarian, use olive oil instead of the tuna oil. And, obviously, leave off the tuna itself. Kate’s salad called for normal kale, which was on my shopping list, but I couldn’t resist the gorgeous purple kale I came across in my nearby supermarket. Kate adapted this recipe herself from Food Network where they used garlic and cooked the kale. I liked her easy no-cook method but decided to keep the original garlic since we are fans and I totally forgot to buy Italian dressing. Massaging the kale with the oil and vinegar softens it nicely without cooking if you want to serve immediately. Otherwise just mixing everything and leaving it for a while works great too, especially if you are taking it along to a picnic.

3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons white balsamic
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cans (5 oz or 151g each) tuna packed in olive oil
1/2 lb or 225g purple kale (I medium head – bigger or smaller will still work.)
1 15.5 oz or 439g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup or 170g grape tomatoes
3 inner stalks celery with some leaves
3/4 cup or 100g pitted ripe black olives
3.5 oz or 100g roasted red peppers
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop your garlic and put it in a big salad bowl with the vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper while you get on with the rest of the salad. This takes a little of the sharpness off of the garlic.

Cut your little tomatoes in half. Pull the strings off of the celery and chop it into pieces.

Remove the hard stems from your kale and cut the bigger leaves into smaller pieces. Small leaves can be left intact. If you are using thicker dark green kale, slice it finely.

How could I resist?!

Squeeze the tuna oil into the salad bowl with the garlic and vinegar and give it a stir and a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set the tuna aside for later.

Add in the kale and use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves.

Slice your olives and roasted peppers.

Put everything, including the rinsed cannellini beans, into the bowl with the garlic, vinegar and oil. Toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the tuna and toss again. (Or set it on the top of the salad.)



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