I was going to say at first that this idea came to me when I reached for a bottle of juice in our pantry last night and caught sight of the 8 cans of tuna stacked in one corner. In the back of my mind I was trying to decide which yummy recipe to make with tuna next week.
And I was excited. Because if there is one trait that I share with my sisters (other than insanely similar looks, fashion tastes, reality TV show favorites, a seething hatred-slash-obsession with Britney Spears, and all the other bajillion things we share so I guess JUST NEVERMIND THEN), it’s an undying love for canned tuna. Seriously. We all really really dig the stuff. Muzzy kept stacks upon stacks of canned tuna in her pantry when we were younger, because we were forever making Tuna Melts.
Well, as I’ve aged I’ve also broadened my tuna repertoire beyond tuna melts. And while I wasn’t actually going to do a post on canned tuna (because really? No, but really?), it was then that I saw a write-up on canned tuna in the latest Cooking Light.
Well let me tell you people: I have much yummier recipes in my collection than they printed in that old rag. So without further ado, here it is: my Thursday Canned Tuna Lovefest.
Tuna, Green Bean, and Potato Salad
This one comes from my Everyday Pasta book, it’s Giada’s take on Nicoise Salad. I love this recipe, especially in the summertime. It’s a great mix of flavors, light and zingy with the lemon and herbs but substantial with the hot veggies and pasta. It’s crunchy and fresh and such a filling salad. Some people scoff at making this with canned tuna but if they only knew how authentic it is, that’s the way they actually make Nicoise salad in France.
I found the recipe a million years ago at Allrecipes, when I was at a loss as to what to make for dinner and had a random list of ingredients to work with. Who knew that it would be many years later, and I still make these things regularly?? Now, I will admit: they sound gross. But they are soooo good, these hot baked puffs of biscuit dough, crunchy on the outside from the egg and crumb, with a oozy cheesy tuna filling. YUM. The best part is that they freeze well – I partially baked them (all but maybe 5 minutes of the baking time, until they were just barely starting to brown), then froze them and wrapped them and stuck them in a freezer bag. Then we were able to pull them out as needed and reheat at the same temp for about 10-15 minutes. Worked like a charm.
Tuna and Tomato Pasta
This is a trick I learned from another Giada DeLaurentiis book, Everyday Italian – she has a recipe for a very basic marinara, and then about 6 variations that just mean a quick stir-in or two of ingredients. This was one of her suggested variations, and I just love it. The sweet, tomato-y sauce marries well with the tangy and salty tuna + lemon + capers. I usually have tons of marinara ready in the freezer so I can whip this up in no time flat.
Oh, here we go. Another recipe that probably sounds insanely disgusting. But let me tell you, I’ve made this before for others, and the initial reaction is almost always the same: “Great hash! I mean, really good! What’s the secret?”. The secret, my friends, is the tuna. I make our usual hash and add a can of the stuff while sautéing the potatoes. It breaks up really small so you don’t really see it, but it makes the hash seem meatier and gives a sharp little depth of flavor. This recipe came from my trusty copy of Fannie Farmer. I love that old thing.
Oh, yum. The tuna cakes are easy to make and taste great, but it’s that lemon aoili that is the real star. It’s garlicky and tart and the perfect foil to the meaty, plump tuna cakes. I like them with a nice side salad and there you go! Healthy dinner!