I used to be one of those people who always had 3-4 cans of tuna in the house. Solid white. In oil until I felt the need to diet, so then, in water.
I'd open the can, drain the fish, mash it with mayo, spread it on bread and voila! there was lunch.
Or I'd open a can or two occasionally for dinner, for a big salad like Nicoise or Chef's Salad.
But canned tuna changed over the years. The fish seems mushy and salty to me now and has for many years.
Maybe my tastes changed. Whatever. I stopped buying canned tuna except for the one can I keep for emergencies. And, most often, in my yearly pre-Passover cabinet purge, I discard that can because I haven't used it.
I still make tuna sandwiches and tuna salad though, using leftover grilled or broiled fresh tuna. Grilled fresh tuna is meaty and pleasantly chewy. No mush at all. The leftovers, usually from the more well-done ends, can be dry, which makes them perfect for plain old tuna salad, mixed with moistening mayo. Also terrific for big salads that I douse with dressing.
We had this Tuna and Brown Rice salad recently. The contrasts are interesting -- tangy olives and feta, sweet fruit, earthy peas. It's colorful too, making it a good choice for a summer buffet. I suppose it would work okay with canned tuna, if you buy that.
Tuna and Brown Rice Salad with Olives, Feta Cheese and Orange Segments
- 1 cup brown Basmati rice
- 10-12 ounces fresh tuna
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 3-4 scallions, chopped
- 1 large navel orange, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 cup thawed frozen peas
- 1/2 cup halved black olives
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cook the brown rice according to package directions. Spoon the cooked rice into a large bowl and set aside to cool. Preheat a grill, broiler or grill pan. Place the tuna in a heat-proof pan. Mix the olive oil with the soy sauce and brush this over the fish. Grill, broil or pan-broil the fish for about 4 minutes per side or until cooked to desired doneness. Remove the fish to a cutting board, cut into chunks and set aside to cool. Add the fish, feta cheese, scallions, orange chunks, peas, olives and mint to the bowl with the rice. Toss gently to distribute the ingredients evenly. In a small bowl mix the vegetable oil, wine vinegar and lemon juice. Pour over the ingredients. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients and let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Makes 4-6 servings