It’s Tuna Time

 

            Tuna fish is one staple that is always in my pantry. Obviously, there are days when time is short, we open a can of tuna, smash it together with some mayo, throw it into a sandwich and call it dinner. BUT, when we do have the time to cook, how many of us reach for that cute little can in order to satisfy that take me back to childhood craving that pops up every now and then.

Tuna is a member of the mackerel family and Albacore Tuna is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef or chicken. Tuna is considered a fatty fish because of its supply of omega-3 fatty acids. This polyunsaturated fat has been shown to protect against heart disease and may also fight breast, ovarian and colorectal cancers. It’s also thought to have a role in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

There are a lot of varieties and grades of canned tuna to choose from. What you choose will depend on your tastes and the specific recipe. Solid or fancy pack will contain large pieces of tuna and is usually albacore. Only albacore tuna may be labeled and sold as white tuna. I’m happy to pay the higher price for white tuna because it has a milder flavor and lighter color. In fact, it looks very much like canned chunk chicken and I sometimes substituted it for chicken in some of my recipes.

Chunk tuna has smaller pieces. Flaked tuna is fairly broken apart and best used for salads where the tuna is mashed and mixed anyway. The latest tuna product to hit the market is tuna packed in vacuum pouches with no added oil or water.  If unopened, canned tuna can be stored in a cool cupboard up to one year. Any leftover canned tuna can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator and use with four days. Tuna salad with a dressing can be refrigerated up to three days. Cooked tuna dishes such as casseroles can be frozen up to two months.

When it comes to tuna everyone needs to drop their preconceived notion that it’s just for lunch, because a can of tuna can be much more than a sandwich filling or salad ingredient. Canned tuna can be the main ingredient in a creative main course, appetizer or salad.

 

TUNA PIE WITH CHEESE BISCUIT TOP

This recipe is great for break the fast or Shavuot

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 3/4 cups milk

1 can (7oz) tuna, drained

1 teaspoon chopped pimiento

1 can (4oz) mushrooms, sliced — drained

2 hard-boiled egg — diced

1 teaspoon minced onions

Cheese Biscuits

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese

3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450. Make the cheese biscuit dough and then make the tuna pie filling.

Melt the butter in saucepan and add the flour and salt, mixing well. Add the milk slowly; bringing the mixture to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the tuna, pimiento, mushrooms, hard cooked egg and minced onions. Mix well and bring the mixture to a boil. Pour the mixture into a greased 2-quart casserole. Arrange cheese biscuits on top.

Cheese Biscuits:
Sift dry ingredients together into a bowl; cut in shortening. Add grated cheese. Add milk, stirring with a fork until all flour is moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured cloth-covered board and knead gently for 20 seconds. Roll to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with lightly floured 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on top of hot tuna mixture in casserole dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

TUNA PECAN BALL

1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese — softened

1 7 oz can solid white tuna — drained and flaked

3 tablespoons diced green pepper

3 tablespoons diced onion

3 tablespoons diced celery

5 olives, pimiento stuffed — diced

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a food processor combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the pecans. Process just to combine. Remove the mixture from the bowl of the processor and shape the mixture into a ball; cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour. Roll the chilled ball in the chopped pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. This can be made 2 days in advance. Serve ball with assorted crackers.
Makes approx 2 cups.

 COUSCOUS WITH TUNA AND RAISINS

A simple and elegant alternative main dish salad
1/3 cup uncooked couscous
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1 1/4 cups chopped peeled cucumber
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup raisins
1 (6 oz) can  tuna in water, drained and flaked
1 (11 oz) can extra- sweet whole kernel corn, drained

 Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium pan: stir in couscous. Remove the mixture from the heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Spoon into a bowl; cover and chill. In a bowl combine the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, parsley, salt pepper, sugar and garlic powder and stir well with a whisk. Add the couscous, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, raisins tuna, and corn. Toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour to let the flavors blend. Serves 6 to 7.

TUNA WONTONS  

An original twist on a classic oriental recipe

2 cans (3 ounces) Tuna, drained and finely flaked

2 cups finely chopped bok choy or cabbage

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1/3 cup minced green onions

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup celery, minced

1 to 2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

50 to 60 wonton skins

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Plum sauce, sweet and sour and/or soy sauce for dipping

In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, tuna, carrot, onions, egg, soy sauce and ginger, celery and sesame seeds until mixed. Position the wonton skins on a dry surface with 1 point facing you. Spoon 1-1/2 teaspoons of the tuna mixture in center of skin (use a slotted spoon if filling is wet); moisten edges of skins with water. Fold bottom corner over filling; fold side corners over first fold. Roll remaining corner over to seal. Repeat with remaining wontons.

In a wok or deep skillet, heat about 3 inches of oil. Fry the wontons, a few at a time, for 2 to 3 minutes or until deep golden brown. Drain well on paper towels and keep warm in a 300 oven until ready to serve. Serve hot with plum sauce. Makes 50 to 50 pieces.

TUNA CROQUETTE WITH LEMON DILL SAUCE

For a reduced calorie dish use a nonstick skillet to make the tuna cakes.

1 can (12 ounces) tuna, drained and finely flaked

3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs or matzo meal

1/4 cup minced green onions

2 tablespoons chopped red peppers

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Lemon-Dill Sauce

1/4 cup pareve vegetable or chicken broth

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon dried dill

Garnish: shredded carrots and zucchini (optional)

In a large bowl combine the tuna, bread crumbs, onions and pimiento and set it aside. In a small bowl beat together the egg and milk. Mix well and stir in the lemon peel. Add the tuna mixture and toss until moistened. With lightly floured hands, shape the mixture into eight 4-inch patties.

In a large nonstick skillet melt butter. Fry the croquettes, a few at a time, until they are golden brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side). Place the cooked croquettes on a cookie sheet in a 300 oven until they are all ready to serve. To make the sauce, in a small saucepan combine the broth, lemon juice and dill and heat until warm.  To serve, spoon shredded carrots and zucchini onto each plate; top with 2 tuna croquettes and spoon the sauce over the top. You can also garnish with an additional slice of lemon. Serves 4. This recipe can be double or tripled

TUNA WITH RED PEPPER SAUCE

Pureed red bell peppers are the base for a rich red wine sauce.

1 can (9 ounces) tuna, drained and broken into chunks

2 cups chopped red bell peppers (about 2 peppers)

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup pareve chicken or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/4 teaspoon pepper

½ cup water chestnuts

1 red bell pepper, slivered and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 yellow or green bell pepper, slivered and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup julienne-strip carrots

2 cups cooked hot cooked pasta or rice

In a skillet, saute the chopped bell pepper, onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender. In a blender or food processor bowl, place vegetable mixture; cover and process until pureed. Return the sauce pan and stir in the wine, pareve vegetable or chicken broth, sugar and pepper. Mix well and keep warm over a low heat.  In a 2-quart saucepan, blanch the red pepper and carrots until they are crisp tender. Stir steamed vegetables and water chestnuts into sauce. Add the tuna and cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until heated through. Serve the tuna and sauce over pasta. Serves 5 to 6

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