Chickpeas and Tuna

THE STORY: One of my fondest memories is having lunch at the Buca del Orafo in Florence. My wife took me there the first time–in 1978.  We had a Fiorentina, the giant Italian t-bone steak, which was awesome.

In subsequent visits we’ve skipped the steak and enjoyed the shaved artichoke and pecorino antipasto, pasta with fresh peas, or ribolitta, finishing, if they are in season, with the fragoline, the mountain strawberries served with lemon juice and sugar, tiny flavor bombs that would put you over the top.

Every year we were greeted by the same waiter, Piero, who was quiet and genial and attentive. Maybe it was the third or fourth time we ate there, we had Tuscan beans and tuna for antipasto. He set the plate down and said, “Now you really should have some of excellent extra virgin olive oil,” and poured out that luscious green gold.

Shown at the top of this page, an approximation of that heaven, chickpeas with diced Campari tomato..  The dish is good any time of year. Fresh beans, canned beans (drained and rinsed) will serve just fine. Shown below: cannellini beans

NICHE: Salad-like, it can precede a main course. On a warm summer day, substantial enough to be a main dish at lunch.

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOK TIME: 0 minutes


1 can of chickpeas (or cooked if you have them)
Small onion diced or 4-5 scallions diced
1 stalk of celery
2-3 tablespoons chopped tomato (optional)
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Genova tuna (Jan 2017 image)


Open a can of tuna. Mix with ingredients above. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and fresh ground pepper.