Three Bean Winter Panzanella Salad with Preserved Albacore Tuna
1 pound albacore tuna steak (1 1/2 inch thick)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4-5 anchovy filets
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 cups or more olive oil, plus one tbsp
1/2 pound fresh cranberry beans
1/2 pound great northern white beans
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 pound fresh green beans
1 medium shallot
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of the reserved tuna oil
salt and pepper
2 cups cherry or grape tomatos
salt and pepper
2-4 tbsps more of the reserved tuna oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 slightly stale French baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 bunch bitter greens (such as dandelion, mustard or radicchio)
1 red onion, cut into slivers
1 cup anchovy aioli (optional – see recipe)
1. Carefully dry the tuna steak as well as possible.
2. In a mortar and pestal add the salt, thyme, garlic, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, anchovies, and black peppercorns and 1 tbsp olive oil. Grind and mix the ingredients well to form a paste.
3. Rub this paste all over the tuna. Add the tuna to a deep bowl. Cover it with 3-4 cups of olive oil and refrigerate for several hours overnight.
4. The next day transfer all these ingredients to a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium high heat.
5. When the oil is the right temperature (not too hot) bubbles will begin to form along the edges of the pan. Lower the heat to maintain this temperature, and put the lid on. Poach the tuna in this mixture about 15-20 minutes, turning the fish over once or twice to ensure even cooking. Check the tuna by piercing with the tip of a knife. It should still be pink at the center, but a little past rare.
6. When the tuna is ready remove it from the oil and allow it to come to room temperature. Reserve the oil. Once the tuna cools completely, return it to the oil and refridgerate 4 or 5 hours or up to to 3 days.
1. Simmer the cranberry beans in enough water to cover by 1 inch. Add a little salt, and fresh thyme and cook about 30 minutes until tender. Prepare the white beans the same way. Let the beans cool in their cooking liquid. These may be cooked ahead and kept at room temperature for a few hours or up to 3 days.
2. Clean and trim the green beans leaving them whole. Add them to a pot of rapidly boiling salted water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Quickly plunge them into an ice bath to stop their cooking.
3. Make a vinaigrette in a small bowl with the diced shallot, red wine vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk in ½ cup of the preserved tuna oil and add freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt and vinegar to taste.
1. Toss the tomoates in a little olive, salt and pepper. Roast the tomotoes on a parchment lined baking sheet for 2 hours at 225 degrees F. They should be crinkly, but still moist inside. This will bring out their sweetness, even in winter when the tomatoes are not at their best. You can skip this if you have sweet, juicy summertime tomatoes.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the preserved tuna oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic clove slices and as many cubes of bread as will fit in a single layer (this may need to be done in a couple of batches). Toss and toast the bread until golden brown on all sides, stirring frequently. Add additional tuna oil as needed (the bread will soak it up as it toasts). Remove from heat and place the bread in a large bowl. This may be made up to a day or two ahead.
3. When ready to serve, add the washed greens to the bowl with the bread cubes. Drain the cranberry and white beans and toss them with the green beans and the vinaigrette. Add these, along with the warm roasted cherry or grape tomatoes to the bowl as well. Toss well.
4. Pour the well mixed salad onto a large serving platter. Toss the onion slivers across the salad and top with the tuna, broken into bite sized chunks. Serve with optional aioli alongside.