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    Tuna and White Beans, Tuscan Style

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    Tuna and White Beans, Tuscan Style

    "I love the tuna and bean starter that Italian restaurants often serve," writes Kate Fell, by email. "I've tried recreating it but I don't know the recipe, and I find that when I cook the beans, they tend to break up. Can you help?" We went to Tuscan cookery writer Ursula Ferrigno, who says "the combination of tastes and textures in this delicate salad is delicious. To prevent breaking, make sure the beans are not too old and always soak them overnight."

    • Preparation time: 5 minutes, plus overnight soaking
    • Cooking time: 1½ hours for the beans
    • Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes, plus overning soaking 15 minutes

    Serves: 4


    • Beans
    • 125g dried haricot or cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water
    • 2 rosemary sprigs
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 3 thyme sprigs
    • 3 flat leaf parsley sprigs
    • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
    • 2 x 190g jars tuna in spring water, drained
    • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • Lemon wedges, to serve
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • Handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped


    1. Drain the beans and put in a large pan. Cover with plenty of fresh, cold water and add the rosemary, bay, thyme, parsley sprigs and garlic.
    2. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook for about 1½ hours or until the beans are tender. Drain and discard the herbs and garlic.
    3. Put the tuna in a bowl and break it into chunks. Add the warm beans and celery, along with the lemon juice and parsley. Season well, drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and toss to mix (if you dress the salad while the beans are still warm, they absorb all the flavours of the dressing). Serve the salad at room temperature with lemon wedges.

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