Tuna Garbanzo Bean and Sumac Salad

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s time to say it again: necessity is the mother of invention. This Tuna Garbanzo Bean and Sumac Salad recipe is something that I invented when I absolutely thought I had nothing to eat in the house. What I did have was a couple of cans of Costco tuna, waaay up in my pantry along with a can of garbanzo beans. And in my fridge, I found wilted dill and parsley from last week’s Passover cooking class. I had a couple of lemons, because if I don’t have lemons, then I’m really a slacker. And truth be told, the only reason I had red cabbage was because InstaCart delivered the wrong thing. 

Tuna garbanzo bean and sumac salad

But there’s nothing I would change about this salad, and I think it’s perfect for a potluck, a buffet, or a family-style lunch. Or to feed your employees while you work (which is why it was so urgent that I found something to eat in my house.) 

If you’ve never zested a lemon, you can do it with a microplane. It adds a pop of Italian summer to the salad. Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice that has a tangy taste that’s delicious on all kinds of salads. Good to keep in the house. And there you have it! 

Tuna Garbanzo Bean and Sumac Salad

  • 1 can of organic garbanzo beans
  • 2 7oz cans of olive oil packed tuna (I get Italian tuna from Costco)
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/8 cup of fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/8 cup of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • a handful of red cabbage, chopped VERY THINLY
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of sumac
  • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste – the amount of salt you need will depend on whether or not your beans are salted, and how salty your tuna is.

1. Put it all together in a large bowl, and mix thoroughly!

Feasting after fasting: Recipes for breaking the fast after Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a holiday for serious fasting — no food or drink for 25 hours. At the end of the day, our thoughts inevitably turn to what we want to eat at sundown to break the fast.          

When I spoke with several friends about Yom Kippur foods they remember from growing up, many said their favorite break-the-fast meal was a variety of spicy, ready-to-eat deli foods. Some dishes were homemade and could be prepared several days in advance, while others were picked up at the local deli.

A deli buffet enables you to serve a combination of deli specialties to satisfy everyone. But you don’t have to buy deli food — the recipes that I am suggesting are easy to prepare. My menu is based on our family favorites that are prepared in advance. 

Early in the morning, a buffet table is made ready with plates, cutlery and an assortment of bowls and platters. 

When the hungry guests arrive, they are met with welcoming cups of Shiitake Mushroom and Barley Soup. The soup is accompanied by slices of raisin-filled challah

Several homemade salads, including a Scandinavian Herring Potato Salad and a Cauliflower Anchovy Salad, a cheese platter, pickles, olives and more of your deli selections will reward the dedicated fasters.  

Instead of the smoked fish that is usually served for the-break-the-fast meal, I have included a recipe for a Pickled Salmon. The fish is poached with pickling spices and served with homemade fresh Tartar Sauce or Tuna Sauce. What I find particularly appealing about this dish is that it can be prepared the day before and served chilled.

Desserts are my specialty, and I plan to do my own baking. Serve Rugelach and a delicious high-rise Coffee and Spice Honey Cake. 

Shiitake Mushroom and Barley Soup

Sautéing all the ingredients before adding the stock brings out the intense mushroom flavor of this robust soup.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups vegetable or pareve chicken stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons pearl barley

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

1 tablespoon dry sherry

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, celery and carrots, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add shiitake mushrooms (other fresh mushrooms may be substituted) and garlic; cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add vegetable stock, soy sauce, barley, thyme and sherry. Reduce heat to low, cover partially, and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, ladle into heated soup bowls.  

Makes 4 to 6 servings. 

Cauliflower Anchovy Salad

Cauliflower’s taste and color are subdued, so the zippy flavor of this salad’s anchovy dressing gives the understated vegetable a dynamic flavor boost.

1 cup Parsley-Anchovy Dressing
(recipe follows)

1 head cauliflower, rinsed
and separated into florets

Prepare Parsley-Anchovy Dressing, cover with plastic wrap, and chill.

In a large saucepan, using a vegetable rack, steam cauliflower until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Spoon just enough dressing over cauliflower to moisten and toss. Serve immediately.  

Makes 4 servings.

Parsley-Anchovy Dressing

1/4 small onion, diced

1 can (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, drained

3/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cups tightly packed parsley sprigs, stems removed (about 1 bunch)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Blend onion, anchovies, olive oil and vinegar in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add parsley, a little at a time, and puree until the dressing is a bright green color. Season with pepper to taste.  

Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill.  If dressing thickens after chilling, add additional olive oil and mix well.  This will keep for several days in the refrigerator.  

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Pickled Salmon With Two Sauces

3 pounds salmon fillets

4 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

3 tablespoons pickling spices

6 cups cold water

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 large carrots thinly sliced 

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Tuna Sauce (recipe follows)

Tarter Sauce (recipe follows)

1 lemon, thinly sliced, for garnish


Wrap salmon fillets in cheesecloth and tie ends of cloth with string. 

Place bay leaves, peppercorns and pickling spices in a separate square of cheesecloth, tying ends with string to form a pouch.

Add water, onion, carrots, celery, vinegar, salt, sugar and bay leaf mixture in pouch to a heavy pot; bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes; remove pouch from broth. 

Gently lower the cheesecloth-wrapped salmon into the simmering broth and cook 3 minutes. Cool fish in broth. When cool, remove fish from broth, unwrap, and transfer to serving plate with large spatula. Serve with Tuna Sauce and/or Tartar Sauce, garnished with lemon slices. 

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Tuna Sauce

1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in olive oil,       drained

5 flat anchovy fillets

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons capers, soaked and rinsed

3/4 cup olive oil


Blend the tuna, anchovies, lemon juice and capers in a food processor or blender, with the metal blade in place, until smooth. Continue processing and pour the olive oil in a steady, thin stream through the feeder tube until it’s the consistency of a thick sauce. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill. 

Makes about 1 cup.

A Tuna After Atonement

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a holiday for serious fasting — no food or drink for 24 hours. At the end of the day, thoughts inevitably turn to what to eat at sundown, and breaking the fast with family and friends.

Our family tradition has been to serve dairy and seafood dishes when we return from the synagogue. I found the perfect fish dishes to prepare for this meal when I attended a food fair at the Skirball Cultural Center. The highlight of the festival was a series of cooking demonstrations, given by well-known local chefs. They were on a stage in front of a movie-size screen so the audience could see what they were demonstrating. During each session everyone was invited to taste what the chefs had prepared.

Chef Neal Fraser, formerly of Boxer Restaurant, gave the first demonstration. He is planning his own restaurant, Grace on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. Neal prepared a dish that he called Big Eye Tuna Carpaccio With a Spanish Touch. He offered several cooking tips as he went along, and the audience clearly enjoyed his presentation. The tuna fillet was placed between wax paper and pounded until almost translucent. Neal transferred the tuna onto a plate and prepared a mixed vegetable salad that he placed on top of the tuna.

This can all be prepared in advance, and served as part of a break-the-fast meal. He also showed how to roll the tuna with the salad tucked inside and then sliced into bite-size portions, to be served as a finger food.

Next came Chef Kazuto Matsusaka, formerly of Chinois on Main, and his wife, chef Vicki Fan, who assisted him. Kazuto prepared Infused Sake, Cilantro Cured Salmon (my favorite), Vegetable Dumplings With Ponzu Sauce and Seared Ahi Tuna With a Daikon Vinaigrette. This handsome Japanese chef and his wife were a great team, adding humor and charm to their dumpling mix.

This year I will add these dishes to our traditional family buffet along with bagels, cream cheese, platters of herring and smoked salmon and a wonderful array of cold salads. Serve a variety of baked delicacies including honey cake, an assortment of sweet rolls and fruit salad for dessert.

Neal’s Big Eye Tuna Carpaccio with a Spanish

8 ounces Big Eye Ahi Tuna, cleaned

of sinew and cut into 2-ounce medallions

Olive oil

4 ounces baby arugula

1 ounce capers, chopped

3 ounces Spanish green olives,

pitted and chopped

1 ounce olive tapenade

1 bunch parsley, chopped

2 ounces sherry wine vinegar

1 ounce balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 ounces shallots, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 ounces haricot vert, blanched

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced*

For the Tuna:

Brush the fish with a little olive oil. Place between two pieces of plastic wrap.

Using a hammer or tenderizer pound the tuna until almost translucent and reserve. Repeat with remaining medallions.*

For the Vinaigrette:

In a medium-size bowl, add all of the ingredients except the tomato and arugula, and mix with a wire whisk. Season with salt and pepper. Add enough olive oil so that it is balanced with the vinegar. (The ratio of oil to vinegar is 3:1) Taste and add the peppers and tomatoes at the end.

To serve, remove the top piece of plastic wrap from the tuna, and using the remaining plastic wrap as a guide, invert the tuna onto a serving plate and peel off the remaining plastic wrap (repeat with remaining tuna). Season with salt and pepper. Toss the arugula with the vinaigrette and carefully arrange on top of the tuna.

*Variation: Remove the top piece of plastic wrap from the tuna and place a small portion of the salad on top of the tuna. Roll up the tuna and slice it into bite-size pieces.

Kazuto’s Cilantro Cured Salmon

1 (4-pound) salmon fillet, skin on

6 bunches washed and picked

cilantro leaves, chopped (about 3 cups)

1¼3 cup salt

1¼3 cup sugar

2¼3 cup freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons tequila

With a sharp knife, score the skin of the salmon in four or five places about 2 inches apart.

In a medium-size bowl, combine the cilantro, salt, sugar and pepper. Place a small handful of the cilantro mixture on the bottom of a large glass baking dish. Place the salmon fillet skin side down on top. Cover completely with the remaining cilantro mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly weight it down and refrigerate for 72 hours or until salmon is firm to the touch.

Wipe off the cilantro mixture to clean the salmon filet. If serving as an hors d’oeuvres or appetizer, slice thinly. Serve with a cucumber salad, on a toasted bagel or with a German-style potato salad.

If you wish, you may also slice the salmon into 1-inch-thick slices, sauté and serve with a cucumber salad, on a toasted bagel or with a German-style potato salad. If you wish, you may also slice the salmon into 1-inch-thick slices, sauté and serve with a honey mustard sauce and mixed green salad.