Layered Mediterranean Salad

Layered Mediterranean Salad
Recipe courtesy Gourmet magazine

For the cucumber layer:

3 cups plain yogurt
2 English cucumbers, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large cloves garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the bean layer:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
5 1/2 cups drained canned navy beans
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tuna layer:

4 (6 1/2-ounce) cans tuna packed in oil, drained and flaked
1 1/3 cups finely chopped red onion
1 cup finely chopped pitted kalamata or other brine-cured black olives
2 cups minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar, or to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garnish:

4 plum tomatoes, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 red onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup sliced pitted kalamata or other brine-cured black olives

Make the cucumber layer:

Drain the yogurt in a coffee filter-lined sieve set over a bowl for 1 hour. Put the cucumber in another sieve, sprinkle it with the salt, and let it drain for 1 hour. Pat the cucumber dry between paper towels and transfer it to a bowl.

Stir in the yogurt, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste, and combine the mixture well. Set aside.

Make the bean layer:

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by 1/2.

In a food processor, puree the beans and the onion mixture with the broth and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and chill.

Make the tuna layer:

In a bowl toss together the tuna, onion, olives, parsley, vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad:

Spread the bean puree in the bottom of a trifle bowl, top with the tuna mixture, and spoon the cucumber mixture over the top.

Chill covered, for at least 3 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, sprinkle the top with the garnish and serve.