Friday, March 10, 2017

In Tune With Tuna

Lenten Fridays usually mean no meat to those who follow Catholicism Unfortunately that could mean Friday nights full of pizza and pasta. They;'re good but can get tiring, especially week after week. Home chefs can fall back on the basic their grandmothers and moms used : tuna. Seriously, there are some good recipes out there, featuring this versatile fish.

Before buying any tuna, be aware that there are many different kinds. Even the canned variety comes in either water or oil. The last is my favorite, especially when making salad Nicoise , that Provencale delight. Again this is also my favorite salad too.It's an easy make, Add it and sliced hard boiled eggs along with quartered vine ripe tomatoes and green beans to Romaine lettuce. For a true Nicoise, anchovies are added , but they can be omitted if you feel the taste may be too intense. Capers,onions and of course, olives are tossed in for more flavor. It's usually dressed with a lemon vinaigrette but a simple olive oil and red wine vinegar vinaigrette is just as good.Grilled tuna in a salad is also a nice addition too.  Water canned tuna can be used in that classic:  tuna casserole. Use cream of mushroom soup instead of cream of chicken in accordance with Lent. To make it a fun Friday meal, top with crushed potato chips for extra crunch and flavor. You could also sub in Monterey Jack cheese for the traditional cheddar. Croquettes are another way to employ canned tuna. They're usually made with leftover mashed potatoes along with green and red peppers. They 're then coated in cracker crumbs and can be fried or baked. Serve with baked French fries.

Tuna steaks are also a great way of eating meatless. This is not the season for them, which is from the late Spring to early fall, however, you can buy  frozen steaks. To get the optimum flavor, thaw in the refrigerator Friday morning and then cook that night., The steaks can be grilled, baked, or sauteed.One of the best ways is searing in a skillet. This caramelizes the surface  and locks in the moisture. Use a heavy skillet to cook, Add two to three tablespoons of olive oil and then cook the steaks for six to ten minutes or until the meat flakes off when tested with a fork. The interior should be a rosy pink.You could also bake them but keep in mind that the oven has to be very hot  - at about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the tuna steaks on a greased baking sheet . Don't stack them. Brush with melted butter or olive oil. Bake four to six minutes per 1/2 inch thickness of fish.As with skillet cooked tuna, use a fork to test for flakiness and  look for  pinkness in the center. The steaks can be marinaded for extra flavor. You can try lemon and garlic zinged up with oregano or for a more exotic flavor, think soy and ginger slices mixed with lime and sesame oil.

Any tuna dish is a nice way to end a Lenten Friday. Treat yourself and family to a tasty salad Nicoise or soy marinated tuna steaks. Enjoy  croquettes or casserole with the kids. Tuna's just a great way to oberve Lenten dieting.

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