Thursday, September 19, 2013

Still a Lunchtime Staple: Two Recipes with Canned Tuna

Tuna cakes, or croquettes if you prefer, are also satisfying served as burgers on toasted buns. As above, Cafe Drake HRV topped ours with mayo (actually, Vegenaise) and sliced red onion and tomato, served with the simplest of all side dishes - stir-fried veggies.

Non-traditional burgers are a menu staple at Cafe Drake HRV and come in all shapes and flavors. A quick recipe for Tuna Burgers: take 2 cans of good tuna (Italian is best generally) and drain of olive oil, reserving in a small bowl. Mash the tuna vigorously with a fork, incorporating in 1 T. of mayonnaise at a time as you go along. You should probably need at least 3-4 tablespoons. Now stir in some chopped parsley, a few tablespoons of GRATED onion (even diced pieces may be too large and cause the burgers to fall apart or stick to the pan), 1 clove of garlic, pressed, and some salt and pepper to taste. You'll want to thicken and bind the burger so sprinkle in some dried whole wheat bread crumbs until the mixture becomes thick and not too sticky. if possible refrigerate for an hour before frying. If not, proceed by heating reserved olive oil over a medium flame - non-stick skillets work best but not essential.  Form 4 patties from the tuna mixture and pan fry until browned, crispy and cooked through. Allow 3-5 minutes per side, adjusting the heat as needed. Drain on a paper towel or newspaper and spritz very lightly with lemon juice. Serve with rice, spaghetti and marinara sauce or on toasted buns or rolls. If using mayo as a topping try dotting with a few drained capers.
A leftover tuna burger combined with toasted whole wheat English muffin, green salad with feta cheese, stir-fried veggies and baba ganouj.

Salad accompanying tuna cake/burger. Whoever decreed that fish and cheese shouldn't be served together (Italian food dictators, that's who) has never tried the combination of premium canned tuna and briny feta.


Tuna salad needn't include gobs of mayonnaise. Or any at all. The hottest summer days demand cool, light lunches like the one seen above. Open a can of good Italian tuna into a mixing bowl along with all of the olive oil as well. Mash lightly with a fork before stirring in 1 T. well-rinsed and drained capers, salt and black pepper and a small drizzle of your finest aged balsamic vinegar, the thickest, blackest, stickiest you own. Best enjoyed over cool, crisp blades of romaine lettuce, further enhanced with shaved red onion slices. Nice partners for this most heavenly warm weather entree include a few cornichons, Nicoise olives, garlic bread and a bottle of very cold Chenin Blanc.

Above two photos: roasted eggplant puree. We enjoy but don't embrace often, or with true devotion and love, French cuisine. The Mediterranean flavors of the southern coast inspire however; such genius is evident in the frequent pairing of fish and eggplant, either roasted or braised. Works with canned tuna as well!
Sprouts of all tails work well with tuna. Above, sprouted wheat berries are a fave at Cafe Drake HRV for their nutty taste, chewy texture and ease of sprouting. Want tuna salad but not the carbs from bread? Get a healthy dose of sweet and earthy grains instead by tossing a handful of wheat berry (or rye berry) sprouts over your salad.
Left with a half-pack of heirloom radish seeds, the rest planted last week in an attempt to cash in on the vegetable's tolerance for cooler temps, Cafe Drake HRV soaked and sprouted those remaining. The sprouts' inherent spiciness add both piquant and floral flavors as sandwich toppers, especially suited to tuna or salmon salad.

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