White Bean & Tuna Salad with Apple & Fennel

We grow beans on the farm as well as all of our tree fruit. Every fall I have pounds of beans to cook with all year. The giant white ones are my favorite and I love them in salads. The day that Olaiya and came up with this salad, we had the beans and the tuna and needed crunch with the fennel and celery and then the tarragon came, but it was still missing something. I had an Ashmed’s Kernal (apple that we grow for cider) in my refrigerator. It was slightly past its prime but the acid and sugar blend made it the prefect apple for this salad. They are hard to come by but Pink Ladies make an excellent choice for this salad.

Yield: 4 servings


2 tablespoons crème fraîche

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Yakima Valley Dry Hopped Cider

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sugar, to taste

1 cup best quality oil packed tuna (preferably belly) drained, oil reserved

1 cup thinly sliced fennel

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 ½ cups cooked white beans (Gigantes work best)

½ Pink Lady Apple, cored and sliced thin, skin on

4 tablespoons whole celery leaves

2 tablespoons fennel fronds

1 tablespoon chopped tarragon

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

Butter Lettuce, to serve (optional)

Combine the crème fraîche, mayonnaise, cider, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl. Season dressing with salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Set aside.

Break the tuna into large chunks and place in a large bowl; moisten with 1 tablespoon of the reserved tuna oil.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the butter lettuce (if using). Pour the dressing over the top and toss lightly. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve over butter lettuce, if desired.