Faffing around my local supermarket last night, like most nights, I headed to the canned legume section after tut, tutting the state of most of the, apparently, fresh vegetables. BOGOF on cans of butter beans, one of my favourites, so two of those were grabbed (Buy One Get One Free).
Immediately behind me were the tins of fish and seafood, so instead of going with bacon that I’ve stopped buying as it smells like a farmyard whilst cooking, I grabbed a can of tuna chunks – hypocrite that I am as I was no longer buying tuna as they’re not exactly sustainable. Hmm, had forgotten just how good the flavours of butter beans, sage and canned tuna are together – there goes my good intentions.
Some may sneer at the thought of adding lots of grated Cheddar cheese to a sups that consisted of pasta with butter beans, leeks, sage and tuna. Guess what, this post ain’t about my sups last night. Ordinarily it’s highly unusual of me to grate any form of cheese over pasta. Not that I’m an aficionado on everything pasta – I just keep forgetting to buy in Grana Padano! Besides, the Cheddar I already had had been massively reduced due to its sell-by date so it needed using up. No one needs to know that I practically smothered my pasta in the stuff and stuffed my face until well and truly satiated. Have to say that it tasted really good. Here, with this Butter Bean, Sage and Tuna Dip I’ve purposely kept this rustic and served it with thick slices of home-made yoghurt bread – which will hopefully be a separate post at some stage if I can ever manage to get the ratios right. I’m using an existing recipe, which is unusual as I never normally cook from recipes, where I’ve halved the ingredients and can’t quite get it to work. Next time I’ll be adding an egg and extra flour to see if that works. Anyway, I’d far rather develop this type of dip to serve it in a pastry shell. I can only find those individual metal tart trays, or whatever they’re called, for baking pastry shells with fluted edges – something I dislike as I far prefer the straight edged look. The idea would be to cook a shrimp jelly to pour over this dip spread within its pastry shell, either large or as individual tarts. That way it could taste and look much more upscale. If that’s the case certain types may overlook the inclusion of melted Cheddar cheese. And if they don’t, they can order takeaways!
Butter Bean, Sage and Tuna Dip, with melted Cheddar cheese and sour cream
- olive oil
- 1 x medium leek about 170g (5.99 oz), white and pale green only, trimmed, sliced crossways into discs and rinsed thoroughly in cold running water (if leeks are in season where you are do double the amount used. I’ll wait until Autumn to do that)
- 1 x dried bay leaf, split
- large pinch x cayenne pepper
- 1/4 x teaspoon dried sage (dried sage can be very strong in flavour so add less and taste for any needed extra)
- 1 x 420g or 235g (14.81 or 8.28 oz) drained weight can butter beans, well rinsed
- 1 x 170g or 120g drained weight (5.99 or 4.23 oz drained) can tuna chunks in brine, well drained
- 1/2 x small green capsicum/bell/pepper, washed, membranes and seeds removed and discarded, pepper chopped into small dice
- up to 2 x tablespoons sour cream (start off with 1 and add more to personal taste), sub with plain yoghurt if counting calories
- up to 100g (3.52 oz) x mature Cheddar cheese (or use a favourite hard or soft cheese), grated
- fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped or snipped, to serve
- seasoning, taste before adding any freshly ground sea salt as the tuna can be salty but, either way, definitely add freshly ground black pepper
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Make sure the leeks are thoroughly rinsed to rid them of any dirt and grit. Drain them well. Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 3 (out of 6). When pan is hot enough add a little oil and scatter in the leeks with the bay leaf. Plonk a lid on pan and allow to sweat for a good 10 or 15 minutes, stirring through occasionally. Take off lid, reduce heat to No 2, add the diced green pepper and continue to pan-fry, stirring through, until the leeks are nicely soft and turning sticky. Push the leek mixture to the sides of pan and add the rinsed butter beans. Allow those to settle and give them enough time to take on a soft golden colour. Sprinkle over the dried sage.
- Push the leek and butter beans to the sides, pour over a drizzle more oil and add the tuna. Again allow to settle, and don’t worry too much if the tuna starts to catch a little as it lends more flavour. Any sign of scorching take off heat and allow to cool before continuing. Sprinkle over the cayenne pepper, take off heat, add the cheese and sour cream and allow enough time for the cheese to melt. Allow to cool completely before serving. Taste for any needed salt as the tuna can be salty, although do add freshly ground black pepper and lots of fresh parsley.
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