Thursday, November 29, 2007

Recipe: Baked White Beans with Tuna and Sage (Φασόλια με Τόννο και Φασκόμηλο)

We all have kitchen standbys: recipes we’ve cooked a hundred times and can throw together without thinking. Standbys are delicious and turn out well even when we’re tired or inattentive.

Tuna & Beans IngredientsOne of my standbys is white beans, baked with olive oil, garlic, sage, tuna, and lemon juice. I’ve never been disappointed by baked tuna and beans, and rely on it when refrigerator shelves are bare. It is made entirely with pantry staples and takes 10 minutes to put together and less than an hour to bake.

I usually make Baked White Beans with Tuna and Sage using canned cannellini beans, but have also made it with Great Northern or navy beans. For tuna, I prefer canned albacore packed in water, but any kind of tuna will do. The only ingredients I use each and every time are fresh lemons and fresh garlic; their bright flavors are necessary to the recipe’s success.

During winters past, I’ve relied on dried rubbed sage to enhance the tuna and beans, but this year we brought sage in from the garden. It’s growing in the bedroom along with parsley, rosemary, thyme, and the geraniums that have been blooming since late May.

Growing Bedroom PlantsWhen people hear we live in Alaska, they want to know how we survive the cold. For me, the cold is a minor inconvenience; short winter days and too much darkness take more of a toll.

To combat winter blues, I moved live herbs and flowers into the bedroom. They reside on stainless shelves, with grow lights on a timer set for 6:30 in the morning. I wake up to bright lights and green plants, starting my day in a better mood than when I used to wake in a pitch black room. The bonus is having fresh herbs for cooking. It’s well worth the extra electricity.

Baked White Beans with Tuna and Sage (Φασόλια με Τόννο και Φασκόμηλο)
Serves 3 – 4

2 15.5-ounce cans cannellini or other white beans
2 6-ounce cans albacore or other tuna
2/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 - 4 Tbsp. minced fresh sage, or 1 – 2 Tbsp. dried rubbed sage
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Drain the beans into a strainer and rinse them well. Drain any oil or water from the tuna.

In a 10” x 10” glass baking pan, mix the beans, olive oil, garlic, half the sage, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Cover the pan with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans from the oven.

Stir the tuna, lemon juice, and remaining sage into the hot beans; break the tuna into bite-sized pieces as you stir. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Taste, and add sage, lemon juice, salt, or freshly ground black pepper, as needed. Bake for 5 more minutes.

Serve with olives, feta cheese, pickled peppers, and crusty bread.


This is my entry to the "Grow Your Own" event hosted by Andrea's Recipes.


Thistlemoon said...

That sounds like a delcious and hearty wonter meal but still retians the fresh and light tastes of the Mediterranean with the lemon and garlic! Lovely!

Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

Peter M said...

Great Mediterranean dish Laurie. It's good to see winter dishes from our regions when it's mostly associated with summer.

Also, all this time I dodn't know Faskomilo was Sage!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I am always looking for ways to cook up the tuna in my cupboard. These look especially good!!!

Laurie Constantino said...

Thanks Jenn, you are exactly right about the combination, and why it is so important to use fresh garlic and lemon juice. Love the Blogroll!

Peter, I couldn't agree more. My goal is to show the variety of Greek and Mediterranean food -- that it is a lot more than just moussaka and spanakopita (love them both, but they are just the tip of the iceberg of good Greek eating).

Valli, I always feel more secure when I know I have tuna and beans in the pantry!

ThreeTastes said...

I love your idea of growing herbs in the bedroom — that is real genius! You have the benefit of the beauty and light in your bedroom, and the lovely herbs to cook with in the kitchen.

Andrea said...

Your bean and tuna dish sounds amazing. And how fun that you grow your herbs in your bedroom. Using the grow lights is a good way to keep them going in the winter. Thanks for another great entry for Grow Your Own!

Laurie Constantino said...

Threetastes, you are exactly right. In the bedroom I can pretend I'm with you in Hawaii, and our food tastes better with fresh herbs.

Thanks, Andrea. I'm looking forward to the round-up!

pam said...

What a great idea about the herbs! Mine all grow outside and I do without in the winter, or pay lots at the grocery store. I love your recipe too, I'm definitely going to try it.

Laurie Constantino said...

Thanks Pam! I'm surprised that in Tennessee plants like rosemary won't survive the winter. Though it may just be that I imagine every place outisde Alaska is warmer than it really is!

Coffee and Vanilla said...

I love this recipe.
That's a pity that Technorati is not showing new posts from this blog so I missed plenty good recipes.