Saturday, September 17, 2011

Weekend foodie: Italian style tuna, bread and tomato salad

As you know, I’m all about food that, as well as being completely yummy and nutritious, provides long-lasting energy for the day. That usually means protein and some wholegrain foods as well as some veggies. This recipe provides all of those, is really quick and easy to throw together and is a great way of using up old bread. It’s really an adaption of the Italian bread salad, but with tuna for extra protein. Just one thing to note: you'll need proper crusty bread for this, like ciabatta, or I used a multi-grain one in the picture – your white ‘plastic’ sliced bread won’t cut it.

* 3-4 thick slices of day-old bread
* 250g punnet of mixed tomatoes (eg cherry, roma etc.), chopped
* 120g can of tuna in olive oil
* a few sprigs of basil, chopped
* 1 tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
* (optional) 1 tsp agave nectar/honey
* (optional) 1 tsp capers in salt, washed, drained and chopped
* 2 handfuls salad leaves
* extra olive oil for drizzling

1.  Cut the bread into bite-sized squares. If the bread isn’t very dry, pop the squares on a tray in an oven or under the grill for a few minutes until they start to toast (but you don’t want them too brown).
2.  Put the bread and chopped tomatoes into a serving bowl, add a little olive oil and scrunch up with your hands – really get in there as you want the bread to absorb as much of the tomato juices as possible.
3.  Mix in the tuna (with about half the oil from the can), the basil and vinegar. I also like a teaspoon of agave nectar or honey and some chopped capers at this stage.
4.  Leave everything to soak up the juices for 10-20 minutes and serve at room temperature, adding your salad leaves and a drizzle more olive oil (if you think it needs it) just before serving.

For a vegetarian version, you could replace the tuna with a jar of antipasto, like olives or grilled aubergines/eggplant.

Serves 2-3.

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