150g tinned tuna
400g tin of cannellini beans
plenty of olive oil (about 5 fl oz)
6 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic
- Peel and thinly slice the leeks and garlic, then add to a large heavy-based pan with the olive oil.
- Once the leeks have softened, add the bay leaves, fry for 30 seconds or so, add the drained beans and the salt. Squeeze the lemon juice over the beans, and add the squeezed lemon quarter to the pot, stir well, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the tuna, stir to mix, heat through for a minute or two and serve.
Our attitudes to tinned food are a bit mixed. When tins first appeared, they often contained luxury items (quail in aspic, and that kind of thing!). Now we tend to be a bit suspicious of them. They are deemed okay for some things - tomatoes, baked beans, chick peas - but dodgy for others. Perhaps inevitably, these attitudes vary quite a lot between the UK and Spain. In Spain, chick peas, and pulses generally, usually come in glass jars, while fresh tomatoes are always preferred to tinned.
Tuna is a case in point. I was brought up to view tinned tuna as scarcely better than cat food, but I have come to appreciate its convenience. (I am still not keen on it when it is added to tomato sauces and cooked, at which point it turns rather dry and loses all its appeal.) A couple of years ago my in-laws gave my parents some very good tinned bonito (a large member of the mackerel family). As far as I know it is still lurking at the bottom of their cupboard. I must dig it out next time I visit and see if I convince them of its virtues.