I usually don’t hold back on posting recipes here that use ingredients like fish sauce and dried shrimp. They’re easy to get a hold of, inexpensive, and will last an age in your pantry. Basically ticks all my boxes. (Most grocery stores stock fish sauce and there’s a whole street dedicated to dried fish in Chennai!)

Anchovies (the little fillets that come packed in oil) on the other hand haven’t been the easiest to find. The few places that did stock them came with dodgy packaging (as a result of storage conditions I’d imagine) and so close to their prime that you’d basically have to use them by the weekend. But! I was lucky to snag a few bottles. And the real exciting BUT! – they’re available online. Cannot recommend them enough here in this recipe and in life, generally. A little goes a long way with these guys – and the best part is that they’ll completely disintegrate into whatever you add them to. So essentially leaving you with that rich umami flavour but otherwise being virtually non-existent in the final dish.

Apart from the beans, tuna and anchovies, there’s olives, capers, chilli flakes and onions macerated in lemon juice. Which sounds fancy but is super simple to do: toss slivered onions in lemon juice and salt and let it sit while you get on with the rest of the salad. This mellows their sharpness and gets rid of that acrid bite that raw onions tend to have.

I had an abandoned packet of dried double beans that needed using up which is why my recipe calls for these. By all means switch them out with other variants. If you want to meal prep and freeze this—which you totally can and you totally should—just freeze without the tuna. If you’re not a fan of canned tuna, this salad would taste great eaten with a pan-fried piece of fish. Honestly, beef and lamb (cooked, shredded and tossed through) or eaten alongside would all be great alternatives.

DOUBLE BEAN TUNA SALAD

Ingredients

  • 200 grams dried double beans (see notes)
  • 180 gram can of tuna (in brine preferably)
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tbsp olives, pitted
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 anchovy fillets packed in oil
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes, or to taste
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  • Soak the beans for at least 8-10 hours. Discard the soaking liquid. Cook the beans in a fresh pot of water until tender but still holding their shape. I do this in a pressure cooker to save time.
  • Slice the onion into slivers. Mix the onions and lemon juice with a pinch of salt in a bowl. Let it sit while you make the rest of the salad.
  • Chop the anchovies to a fine mince. Heat oil in a pan and add the anchovies. They will start to sizzle straight away. Move it around for 20-30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and chilli flakes. Season with a little more salt, then cover and cook until the tomatoes start to break down, about 5-7 mins.
  • Add the beans, olives and capers and toss everything together just to heat them through.
  • Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tuna and macerated onion slices and juice. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature. Can be kept refrigerated for 2 days. Can be frozen without the tuna for up to a month.

Notes

Serves 4-6 as a side. Serves 3 as a main.
I used dried double beans (also known as Lima beans) for this recipe. But any white bean - cannellini, haricot etc. (canned or dried) would all work for this recipe.
1 cup (200 grams) of dried double beans = 3.5 - 4 cups cooked.

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