Thursday, 27 August 2009

Butter beans with tuna and anchovy sauce

This is my fail-safe dish that I return to again and again when I'm tired, need cheering up or just can't be bothered to cook anything that takes longer than five minutes. It saw me through my late teens, university years and nowadays I still eat it at least once a week. It's so simple, yet unbelievably tasty - despite containing anchovy and tuna it doesn't taste at all 'fishy' but has a really deep savoury flavour with an 'umami' bite. All you need to do is open a few storecupboard cans, heat some good oil and chop up some parsley. Don't worry if the amount of oil used seems excessive - you need it all to bind the sauce together.

The other day I made this for my good friend R who has to follow a very restricted diet (no wheat/yeast/sugar etc) and it really put a smile on her face. Not only is this dish really good for you (it's choc full of good omega oils) it also has the bonus of not tasting like you're depriving yourself of anything. Hurrah!

Serves 1

You will need:

200g tin tuna steak in spring water/brine
6 tinned anchovy fillets in oil
400g tin butter beans rinsed and drained
3 tbsp organic rapeseed oil (or use extra virgin olive oil)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 good handfuls roughly chopped parsley

Gently heat the oil in a saucepan, then add the anchovy fillets. 'Melt' them over a low heat, gently prodding with a wooden spoon until they fall apart and go mushy. Add the tuna, mash in with your wooden spoon. Heat through until bubbling, then grind in as much black pepper as you can handle. I like it nice and peppery - about 1 heaped tsp of pepper (or 30 grinds of a big pepper mill). Add the drained butterbeans and stir until everything is heated through. Just before serving, add the chopped parsley and mix in.

This sauce is also ruddy marvellous with pasta - choose nice fat tubey shapes like rigatoni or penne.


  1. HOW do my persuade my anchovie-hating wifey to make this?! Gahhh!


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  3. Thanks Anne ... Isn't marvelous that I can type a few ingredients (stuff in my cupboard) into google and get a marvelous recipe like this! I'm going to try it tonight with pasta.

  4. Hi Anonymous,
    Ahhh, the wonders of t'internet eh? This sauce is really good with pasta - hope you enjoy it! Let us all know what you think of it...