Friday, March 19, 2010
Tuna and White Bean Salad from Italian Cook Book
Ready to take a trip to the sunny Mediterranean? That's what our cook book today is; a food tour of the fishing villages and sun-drenched towns of Italy and its' surrounding area. For me, The really appealing aspect of "Italian; the Essence of Mediterranean Cuisine" by Carla Capalbo is its' focus on the everyday foods that make that area of the world famous for its' home cooks; the moms, grandmas and grandpas who make their own pasta, sauces and seafood dishes.
The fact that this is not one of the older cook books that I've reviewed makes it very accessible; this edition was published in 2001 by Hermes House. The book's ISBN is 1-84309-149-6. This means that you should be able to find it for purchase online or in the bookstore. If you're more of a cook book borrower, they might have it at your local library. I like to sometimes give new cook books that I've seen on TV or in magazines a "test run" before I buy them; the library's great for that!
If you enjoy seeing the end product when cooking, this is your book! The entire book is big and full of colorful pictures of the dishes and the cooking steps. I'm not a fan of desserts made with "spirits", but if you like sponge cakes soaked in rum or desserts made with Marsala or cherry brandy, the dessert section will be useful to you. My delight was the main section which was filled with mouth-watering pictures of pasta dishes with cheese and herbs, breads, seafood and salads that will make you want to throw an apron on and head to the kitchen.
If you like to cook, Ms. Capalbo removes any trepidation you might have about venturing into a foreign food culture. As she explains in her book, recently many of the spices and produce that might have been found only in the Mediterranean, are now available in your local grocery store. She is very exact in the way she gives us a full page of different pastas so we might distinguish them when shopping; she does the same with meats and cheeses, fresh produce, seasonings and equipment. She is my kind of cooking instructor-nothing left out to make you guess if you're doing it correctly!
Some of the recipes require a pasta machine, but I figure that for the first try of that recipe, you could use store-bought pasta to see if you like the recipe well enough to make the investment. Other than a pestle and mortar, most of the cooking equipment is pretty basic.
The sections of the book are as follows: Antipasti and Soups; Vegetables; Pasta; Rice, Polenta Eggs and Cheese; Pizzas, Pastries and Bread; Fish and Shellfish; Meat, Poultry and Game and Desserts. I must say that some of those poultry recipes look especially good to me...and the polenta...and the pasta! Okay, the only items in the book that didn't strike my fancy were the mussel and octopus dishes!
I made a promise to my dental hygienist that I would try to sneak more salad recipes into my blog, and since I love cannellini beans, today's sample recipe will please both of us...hope you like it, too!
Page 25 Tuna and Bean Salad
Two 14 oz. cans cannellini or borlotti beans
Two 7 oz. cans tuna fish, drained
4 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
3 scallions, thinly-sliced
-Pour beans into strainer and rinse under cold water; drain well and place in a serving dish.
-Break the tuna into fairly large flaked and arrange over the beans.
-In a small bowl make the dressing by combining the oil with the lemon juice; add seasonings and mix well. Pour over tuna and beans.
-Sprinkle with scallions. Toss well before serving.
I will be at these great swaps today: