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Seared Tuna with White Beans

A slow cooker is ideal for cooking beans, which require many hours of gentle simmering. This recipe yields enough for this meal as well as for two “bonus” recipes (see related recipes at left).

Let the remaining beans cool to room temperature. Store in airtight containers or heavy-duty sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Ingredients:

For the white beans:

  • 2 lb. dried small white beans, such as cannellini or navy, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. salt, plus more, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  •  
  • 4 tuna steaks, each about 4 oz. and 3/4 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Parboil the beans
Put the beans in a large pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, about 15 minutes. Drain the beans and transfer them to a slow cooker.

Cook the beans
Meanwhile, in a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the onion mixture and the 1 1/2 Tbs. salt to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the beans. Add cold water to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Cover and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the beans are tender, about 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Sear the tuna
Season the tuna steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 3 Tbs. olive oil. Add the tuna steaks and sear until crisp and browned on the outside, about 2 minutes per side for rare. Transfer 2 cups of the beans to a large bowl and toss with the parsley. Store the rest of the beans for later use (see note above).

Divide the beans among 4 plates, top each with a tuna steak and serve immediately. Serves 4; makes about 10 cups beans total.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Slow Cooker, by Norman Kolpas (Oxmoor House, 2007).