It was one of those times when my wife and I looked around in our kitchen and realized we didn't have much to eat beyond some canned goods—tuna and chickpeas to be exact. Faced with these circumstances we often cave in to the convenience of going out for pizza. But we were so tired and hungry that the idea of leaving our house seemed impossible. What could we do with these two ingredients? The combination is actually a fairly common one, but it does leave me a little wanting. Most of the ones I've had just mix the two ingredients with a little olive oil, lemon, and salt. It's a nice snack with a few crackers, but as a main course it's a little anti-climatic.
Not so with this recipe for tuna and chickpea salad. The cumin, fennel seed, chili flakes, and paprika ensure that this will be incredibly flavorful, but what really sets this recipe over the top is the sautéed onion. After 10 minutes of sweating with the oil and spices it becomes translucent and sweet. When the mixture is tossed with the other ingredients the result is a surprisingly fragrant and dynamic dish that tastes so good I just sat with a spoon and scooped it up like cereal.
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 bell peppers, red or yellow
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 can of tuna, water or oil drained
- Handful parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the broiler. Set the bell peppers underneath the broiler and cook for about 3 minutes, or until blackened on one side. Flip them both onto their other side and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the peppers and place in a plastic bag. Let steam for about 15 minutes. Then remove the blackened skin, stems, and seeds, and chop.
Meanwhile, pour the olive oil into a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cumin, fennel seed, chili flakes, and half of the paprika. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Dump the onion mixture into a large bowl. Whisk in the vinegar. Add the chickpeas, tuna, roasted bell peppers, parsley, and the rest of the paprika. Break up the tuna with a fork, and then toss the mixture until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.