5 quick ways with a tin of tuna

2012 Mar/Apr

Cans of tuna are staple items in everyone’s pantry. But did you know that canned tuna has much more of a culinary presence than just mashed up with mayo and slapped between two pieces of bread? Of course you did. Tuna’s a good source of protein, too. Sometimes a can of tuna is just what dinner calls for – here are a handful of creative ways with that can of tuna, sometimes two cans.

Tuna Wraps

Mix together corn kernels, chopped bell peppers, a 6-oz. can of tuna in olive oil, drained and flaked, a good squeeze of lemon juice and 1 t. of capers. Salt and pepper to taste, then gently stir in enough mayonnaise to just moisten the mixture. Wrap in warm flour tortillas with your fave greens.

White Bean & Tuna Pasta Salad

From Julie Van Rosendaal’s fine book, Spilling the Beans. Cook 2 c. dry rotini or other small pasta according to package directions. Run under cool water, then drain well. Transfer to a bowl and add 2 c. cooked white beans or a 19-oz. can, rinsed and drained. Flake in a 6-oz. can of tuna, drained, then add 1 to 2 celery stalks, chopped, and 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley and/or basil. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 c. olive oil, 3 T. red wine or balsamic vinegar and 1 garlic clove, crushed. Drizzle over the salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve on a bed of lettuce. Serves 6 to 8. (Great additions are hard-cooked eggs, grape tomatoes, chunked artichoke hearts and pitted olives.)

Tuna Brandade

Peel and cut 2 large potatoes into cubes. Place in a saucepan with 1 c. milk, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, and 1 shallot, finely chopped. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 10 minutes, or until the potato is soft. Remove from the heat. Drain a 6-oz. can of tuna and add it to the potato mixture. Mash gently, leaving some larger chunks. Gently stir in 1 T. white wine vinegar, 1/4 c. olive oil and half of a 1/4 c. of dill sprigs, chopped. Stir to combine. Serve the brandade on crostini with arugula and the remaining dill.

Tuna Pasta for Two

From Fan Fare! Best of Bridge Cookbook. Cook 6 oz. spaghettini or angel hair pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/3 c. cooking water. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 T. oil over medium heat. Sauté 1/2 c. chopped red, orange or yellow bell pepper and 1/4 c. chopped onion about 5 minutes. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook until fragrant. Add 3 c. roughly chopped ripe tomatoes and cook 4 minutes until softened. Add a 6-oz. can of tuna, drained and flaked, 3 c. packed baby spinach, 1 T. drained capers, grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add the pasta. Toss to coat and loosen a bit with the reserved cooking water if necessary. Serve sprinkled with lots of parmesan cheese. Serves 2.

Tuna Corn Chowder

A Karen Barnaby recipe. In a large pot, cook 6 slices of chopped bacon until browned. Add 1 c. each diced onion and celery and cook until the onion is translucent. Stir in 1 t. smoked or regular paprika. Add 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, 4 c. chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add 2-1/2 c. corn kernels and 2 c. light cream. Cook 5 minutes, then add two 6-oz. cans of water-packed tuna, 2 T. chopped parsley, 1/4 c. thinly sliced green onion and simmer until heated through. Serves 6.