Sunday, March 09, 2014

Variations on the ubiquitous tuna

I love tuna fish. In salad, in a casserole, plain. It's high on the list of my favorite foods, and every time I hear a doctor advise, "Eat more fish," I gloat a bit and think, "I already do." But I fix it a lot of different ways.
Most people groan at the thought of a tuna casserole, that hangover from the fifties when women were housewives and stayed home to cook. I have a killer recipe.

Tuna casserole

1 cup white wine
Assorted dry herbs
1 can mushroom soup
1 7 oz. can tuna
1 stalk celery
half of a small onion
Olive oil
One starch--rice or pasta, cooked
One  vegetable--I favor frozen green peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Maybe a dash of Worcestershire
1 can French's fried onions

Bring the wine to a boil in saucepan. Throw in a handful of assorted herbs--thyme, basil, oregano, tarragon, whatever strikes your fancy. I'd advise against using Mexican spices though. Boil hard until herbs turn black and wine is reduced a bit.
Meanwhile sauté celery and onion in a small amount of olive oil. Add soup, tuna,, and pasta or rice.
Season to taste. Put into ovenproof dish and top with fried onions.
Bake at 350 until casserole is bubbly and onions are browned--20-30 minutes.

And tuna salad doesn't have to be lemon juice, onion, tuna, celery and mayo (though I love that). Sometimes I put the tuna in a mini-processor and flake it; then I add juice of a whole lemon, a good squirt of anchovy paste, one scallion, chopped, and just enough may to bind but not make it soupy.

Another way I like tuna is with grated cheddar. This is meant as a filling for pasties--and you can do that by separating crescent rolls and filling each with a bit of salad; seal tightly; brush tops with egg white, and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. But I like the filling plain:

1 7 oz. can tuna, drained
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/4 cup diced celery
1/3 cup sour cream--or you can stir in a bit of mayo

And finally southwestern tuna is a favorite of mine:

I use this as a dip, served either with crackers or tortilla chips (the good strong kind), but I long ago lost the recipe, so I kind of recreate it each time.

7½-oz. can albacore tuna
Juice of 1 lime (a good juicy one)
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. capers
¼ c. chopped celery
¼ c. chopped red onion
Pinch of cumin
Mayonnaise to bind
1 can chopped chilies (Use your own judgment about canned chilies or a chopped jalapeño—I like the canned.)

Disclaimer: I always use canned white albacore, and I order it from the Pisces cannery in Oregon where it is canned and then cooked, instead of being cooked twice. So much better than the standard brands. You can only buy it by the case, but if you have a tuna-loving friend it works out fine and you'd be amazed at how fast it goes. For ordering information, leave your email in a comment.


Arlene said...

Judy, your post reminded me of MY favorite tuna casserole. My mom made one with shell-shaped pasta, tuna, cream of celery soup, Miracle Whip, ground mustard and cheddar cheese.

Judy Alter said...

Yum, Arlene. Want to be a guest on Potluck with Judy and share it with my readers?