Whole Wheat Focaccia with Tuna, Borlotti, Onion and Corn

The one with tuna, borlotti and onion is one of the best salads for me. It’s one of my favorites besides being one of the most famous and iconic among the Italian salad recipes.

It’s a combo of flavors that makes you think of summer and outdoor meals around big table with family or friends, good and rustic food. And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this salad and, I hope, you like it too. If you treat the onion in the right way, to make its sour taste less pungent, it is tasty and inviting. In the blogpost I’ll explain how to do it.

The variety of toppings on the Italian focaccia is endless. But for the first time, I used a salad to decorate a focaccia. I was invited to a merenda – aperitivo event where everyone had to bring something to drink or to eat. So I thought of preparing a focaccia and a salad. Two things that work well for large groups.

In addition, both easy to pack and transport.

Olive Oil Whole Focaccia with Tuna, Borlotti, Onion and Corn

Olive Oil Whole Focaccia with Tuna, Borlotti, Onion and Corn

While I was cooking, I said to myself, what if you put the salad on the focaccia?

That’s right. After all, the salad is always accompanied by a little bread or breadsticks.

Olive oil whole focaccia, simple and rustic, is perfect to accompany a salad that is equally rustic.

I chose a classic tuna, beans and onion but I also added some corn, especially for an aesthetic issue, to add some color, and some fresh marjoram leaves. But you can omit these two ingredients, the classic recipe of tuna, beans and onion does not provide for them.

I’ll leave you a little tip: if you use ingredients that lose water or oil – tomatoes, marinated vegetables or fresh ricotta, for example, put them to drain for some time before using them to season or stuff a focaccia.

Olive Oil Whole Focaccia with Tuna, Borlotti, Onion and Corn

Olive Oil Whole Focaccia with Tuna, Borlotti, Onion and Corn

How to make a perfect tuna, borlotti and onion salad 

Not everyone likes raw onions. Some people can’t digest it.
I like it but I treat it because, without losing its aroma, the taste is not pungent, facilitating digestion and social life. In the kitchen, as in life, it is the details that make the difference. Knowing how to be in the world with a bit of style has never caused any damage.

To remove the onion’s sourness, I remove the skin and the soul, the central part, I cut into very thin slices and soak it in cold water and sugar for a couple of hours, changing the water often and adding a tablespoon of sugar each time. Or I soak it in cold water and white wine vinegar for about an hour. In both cases, I add a few ice cubes, in this way the onion will be crisp in a pleasant way.

You can use white or red onion. I do it. But always I soak it.
For me, digestion is an essential element in assessing whether and how well I ate. And then it’s a question of education.

Buona vita, Monica

Food tips

You can use either borlotti beans or cannellini beans. Your choice, in this case I used some borlotti.

I prefer natural tuna.

Don’t hurry. Cover the focaccia just before serving but prepare the salad in advance so the ingredients have time to blend together making the flavor unique and special.

I use 1 tablespoon of sugar and two tablespoons of white wine vinegar for 1 onion.


about 12-15 pieces
rectangular mold, 40cm

whole flour, 200g
Manitoba flour, 100g
00 flour, 200g
fresh brewer’s yeast, 25g
fine sea salt, 6 g
olive oil, 6 tablespoons + some oil to grease the mold and some to brush focaccia
natural water, circa 280-300 ml

white onions, 2
corn, 50 g
natural tuna, 300-400 g
Bborlotti beans, 120g
olive oil, sea salt to taste
4 tablespoons of white vinegar or 2 tablespoons of sugar for onions

Above all, remove the skin and the central soul of the onion.
Then cut into thin slices and place in a bowl full of cold water where you have added a couple of tablespoons of vinegar or sugar, mix and let rest. If you use vinegar for an hour, if you use sugar for 2-3 hours, in this case changing the water often and, each time, adding sugar.

Another, dissolve the yeast in a little hot water or milk, stirring well.
Furthermore, in a bowl mix the flours, add the oil, yeast and water, a little at a time. Knead for about ten minutes, add salt and knead vigorously for at least another 10 minutes.

Finally, let the dough rest covered and away from draughts until it doubles in volume, even 2-3 hours.

Prepare the salad. Drain the tuna and onion, rinse the beans and, if you use it, the corn, season with oil and salt. Set aside.

Grease a baking sheet, lay down the dough without working it and spread it with your fingers to cover the baking sheet. Cover and leave to rise for another hour.

With your fingertips, spread the focaccia again, brush with oil and bake in a preheated oven (180°Celsius, static oven) for about 40 minutes.

Let it cool out of the oven.
Cover focaccia with salad. Cut into squares and serve.

Olive Oil Whole Focaccia with Tuna, Borlotti, Onion and Corn

Something more about focaccia: traditional ingredients, how and when to eat it



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