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100 g cannellini beans
100 g borlotti beans
1 tomato , optional
1 potato , optional
extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion , peeled and finely sliced
4 anchovy fillets , finely chopped
1-2 fresh red chillies , deseeded and finely sliced
freshly ground black pepper
4 x 225 g tuna steaks , from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, about 1cm thick
This is a really beautiful summer dish that takes hardly any time at all to prepare – and, of course, you can use different kinds of beans, such as black-eyed beans, flageolets, butter beans or even lentils. It's a terrific hot snack or main dish – and with the tuna all torn up it makes a great salad. I like to griddle the tuna for a minute on each side so it has colour on the outside but still remains a little pink in the middle. A lot of people still want to cook tuna all the way through (which I think is madness!), but you must do it how you like best. It's worth seeing if you prefer it pink in the middle though. I'm really going heavy on the herbs in this recipe – 4 or 5 years ago this might have been a bit OTT, but it's really easy to get hold of a good selection of herbs now, so the more the merrier.
Feel free to use a couple of tins of beans if it's more convenient. Tinned beans aren't bad these days – they have got much better for some reason. But if you're using dried, which still taste better, soak them overnight in water. They'll double in size. You then just need to drain them and put them into a pan with fresh water to cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer them for around 40 minutes or until tender – sometimes I put a squashed tomato and a potato in the water with them, as it helps to soften the skins. When done, drain them, discarding the tomato and potato, and put them into a large bowl with 8 tablespoons of peppery olive oil, the red onion, anchovies and chillies. Season with salt and pepper and the lemon juice – for a bit of a twang.
Preheat your griddle pan until really hot. Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper, sprinkle over the lemon zest and pat a little olive oil on both sides. Sear the steaks for a minute on each side. While the fish is searing, get your guests round the table. Throw the herbs into the dressed beans, mix up and divide between the plates. Take the tuna off the heat, tear it up and place on top of the warm beans. Nice with some cold white wine.