Good canned tuna is one of our essential pantry proteins. To show off its range, we asked some of our favorite chefs to get creative. Find out these six things you can do with canned tuna.
Image Credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink
Tuna and Goat Cheese Flatbread
"Take a lavash or any pocketless pita, spread goat cheese and caramelized onions on it, put the tuna on top of that with some shavings from a fennel bulb, then bake at 375° for ten minutes. Pull it out of the oven, put some capers on it, and there you go."
"Drain the tuna, then stuff a little into squash blossoms along with some sour cream—goat cheese or avocado works, too. You can broil the blossoms, but I like them crunchy so I tempura-fry them. Oil-packed tuna can have a heavy flavor, so to brighten it up I pair it with a quick gazpacho: Dice tomatoes, red pepper, and cucumber, then mix in Sherry vinegar, paprika, and olive oil. I serve one blossom on top of a bowl of the gazpacho, and people always say, "'Wow, there's tuna in that?'"
"Store-bought kimchi-flavored ramen is great, but I always want more flavor. I start by throwing the tuna into a pot with some spicy sesame oil, then add the kimchi spice packet and any fresh herbs I have—cilantro or basil—and whatever vegetables I have on hand: carrots, greens, chile peppers. Then I add vegetable stock and the noodles. Cook those till they're just tender, then crack an egg on top. Take off the heat as soon as the egg sets."
"Boil a handful of fingerling potatoes until tender in salty water with some diced onion, celery, and carrots, a couple of bay leaves or sprigs of thyme, and black peppercorns. Drain and slice the potatoes, then top with olive oil and vinegar while they're still warm. Set aside. Drain the tuna and mix with chopped capers, red onion, cracked picholine olives, and a bunch of fresh parsley—celery leaves, too, if you've got them. Add red wine vinegar to the tuna and toss with the warm potatoes and a handful of mizuna. (Arugula is really good, too.) Top with a soft-poached egg."
"I often cook this dish for my daughter. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a pan. When it's hot, throw in a pint of cherry tomatoes and a tablespoon of capers with their liquid. Let them go until the tomatoes blister. Add a can of drained white beans. Cook until hot, then throw in the tuna. At this point, I'll add parsley and arugula if I have them—olives and anchovies, too. Then I toss with short, tubular pasta cooked al dente and a little olive oil."
"Hamayaki is a dish Japanese fishermen make for a quick bite. For two servings, put a pound of peeled and diced potatoes in a pan with enough olive oil to coat the potatoes. Add one half of a diced Vidalia onion. Give it a quick stir. When you can smell the onion cooking, add 1/4 cup sake (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) and cook until the sake is gone. Add 1 teaspoon minced ginger and 1 teaspoon minced garlic and mix everything together. Add enough chicken stock to cover the potatoes, and simmer until all the stock is gone. You want the potatoes soft but not mashed. Season to taste with salt and place the mixture in two gratin dishes. Cover potato mixture with tuna. Liberally coat the potato-and-tuna mixture with Kewpie mayonnaise, a Japanese mayo available at Asian grocers that has a slight sour note and will not break when broiled. If you use American mayo you may end up with a cottage cheese topping. No good. Sprinkle the Kewpie with togarashi, a Japanese spice blend also available at Asian grocers and even at our local grocery store. Broil until the togarashi is well toasted. Wait a minute to let it cool, then enjoy."