Lunchbox: Looks Can Be Deceiving

[photo removed because apparently, it really looks that bad.]
And I swear, it's a lot tastier than it looks. We'll blame the fact that I used balsamic vinegar for the poor photo, and not my lack of artistic skills . . . although I send my apologies to the balsamic and to you.
After three nights and two days of soup, I'd had it with liquids and was craving something more solid that didn't necessitate eating with a spoon. Alas, my motivation was slipping and it seemed that despite having a relatively full freezer and refrigerator, none of it actually was food.
Enter the pantry reserves. I've never had too much of a fondness for canned tuna, believing it really only finds its place in recreations of my mother's tuna casserole, and I've gotten to be such a sushi snob that I don't actually even like it fresh tuna cooked. But I digress. There were the cans of tuna, dutifully on the shelf as one of those staples that seems like a good idea to have but then just sits there to stare back at me at moments such as this. I vaguely recalled that there must be something one could make that would disguise the utter fishiness of it and after several mad dashes through the cookbook shelf, I found what I was looking for.
The resulting dish is pleasantly surprising and fulfills all of my end-of-the-week, no-food-no-energy-no-time dilemmas in creating a healthy lunch for the next workday criteria. It has benefits in that it's likely ingredients sitting in your cupboard, and if not you can fake it - I used only half the amount of beans for the same amount of tuna and onion, and balsamic for red wine vinegar because that's what I had - and while you might lose some aesthetics I doubt it'll mar the taste any. I added tomato as an afterthought for texture and to feel virtuous about eating vegetables, but it really needs nothing else - the beauty of this salad lies in its simplicity. Though if you can, I'd recommend allowing the extra time for the onion to soak - it's a rather effortless step that mellows the onion.

adapted from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

1/2 medium onion, preferably a sweet one like Vidalia, or red would be tasty too I bet
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can tuna
extra virgin olive oil
good balsamic or red wine vinegar
black pepper

Peel the onion and slice it in very thin rings, put it in a bowl and cover amply with cold water. Squeeze the rings in your hand for 2 or 3 seconds, closing your hand tightly and letting go, for seven or eight times. The water may turn slightly milky from the onion's acid. Retrieve the onion rings with a colander scoop or strainer, pour the water out of the bowl, put fresh cold water in. Put the onion back inot the bowl and repeat the squeezing/draining process 2 or 3 more times. After squeezing the onion for the last time, change the water again and put the onion in to soak. Drain and replace with a fresh change of water every 10 minutes; repeat this three times. Drain the onion, gather it tightly in a towel and squeeze out all the moisture you can.
Put the beans and onion in a medium bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt and toss gently. Drain the tuna and add it to the bowl, breaking it into large chunks with a fork. Pour on enough oil to coat well, add 'a dash' of vinegar (I'm a vinegar fan, and threw in much more. Go gently at first, and add until it's to your liking.) and a generous quantity of cracked black pepper. Toss thoroughly, turning over the ingredients several times; taste and correct for seasoning.
Yield: 2 good-size lunch servings
Time: About 30 minutes for the onion, plus another five for assembly.


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11:34 AM  
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4:56 AM  
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