What to Do With a Tuna Can

Sep 4, 2011
Veronica Brandy

We must admit that, yes,  a can of tuna is not very glamorous.  But these few grams of metal are magic! Here are some ideas to work miracles with this major closet find.

The big dig…

Tell me if I’m wrong, but I assume every kitchen has some canned tuna hidden somewhere in a cabinet.  Reassure me, even in small apartments in Paris, you have a little round box hidden behind a pasta or rice packet.  Because I, the other day, while carefully checking what I had in my cabinets, found out that there were almost 10 canned tuna boxes disseminated all over.  Even under the sink!

Yes, I know! You think that’s a lot, right? So do I.  I must say there are so many varieties: natural, olive oil, tomato, mustard.  One can also buy the belly, crumbs, and tuna loins.  I like to taste new things, so every time I am tempted, that is the result.  But what to make of all this? I give you the results of my experiments in recent weeks:

The tuna can: a good basis for an aperitif!

Do friends arrive unexpectedly and you have nothing to nibble on? You can put these recipes together in a flash.

Tuna rillettes

Mix 1 can of tuna in 300 g of brine, drained with a box of Philadelphia (or other cheese of the same type).  Mash with a fork.  Add the juice of one lemon, salt and pepper, add half a chopped shallot (or a few chives), a little cayenne or Espelette pepper, and proudly proclaim, “I did it myself!”

Spread it on slices of good country bread, or use it as dip for small vegetable sticks (carrots, cucumbers, etc).

A green olive tapenade

Mix roughly 150 g of pitted and drained medium green olives with a box of tuna in oil (170g), and 20 g of butter.  Add the blanched zest of one lemon, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 4 tablespoons of chopped basil.
Just snack on it like the rillettes with bread as bruschetta, crackers, or vegetable sticks.  And also, spread tuna and tuna puff the Conticini way.

You can also use your can of tuna to make small hors d’oeuvre such as:

Bricks friendly tuna

Take a pastry sheet; brush with melted butter; place half a sheet on top and brush again (this will prevent the brick being too fragile and tearing).  Garnish; I propose a tablespoon of tuna in oil, drained and crumbled roughly, a steamed potato, cut into quarters, one teaspoon of capers, and a pinch of cumin. Close the foil pouch and attach with a toothpick.  Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (gas 6) for 20 minutes.  Excellent with a green salad.

You can also prepare muffins with tuna and olives, bread, or bowls of tuna: tuna terrine with leek sauce, eggplant terrine Nadine tuna, bread, or tuna with shallots.

For lunch or picnics

The classics: tuna cake, cake with tuna and olives, tuna pie with onions, and leek and parmesan tuna quiche.  Here on French-delice, you will find other recipes with tuna.  Here is one I enjoy a lot:

A tuna pie

puff pastry – 1 kg tomatoes – 2 tablespoons of mustard – 1 canned tuna box – herbs – olive oil – 3 tablespoons parmesan / mozzarella mixture.

Preheat oven to 210 ° C, gas mark 7.  Put your pastry in the pie plate.  Stake it with a fork.  Then spread 2 tablespoons of coarse mustard and spread the drained and flaked tuna.  Arrange the tomatoes cut into slices.  Sprinkle a teaspoon of herbs and sprinkle with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Finally, top with the mozzarella and parmesan mixture.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  It is delicious with some arugula!

The night of the San Lorenzo Spaghetti

To continue with this tuna devoted saga, I wanted to tell you about the recipe of the “night of San Lorenzo” spaghetti.  I love the Tuscany legend accompanying this recipe.  It is said that on the night of August 10th, the night of San Lorenzo, each who spot a shooting star will have their wish granted.  Just say, “Star, my star, I wish…” and whatever you desire will occur within the year.

In a bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, 3 diced tomatoes, 8 anchovies in oil (1 can), 50 grams of tuna in oil (1 small can), 2 tablespoons olive oil, some olives, and some fresh basil leaves.  Cook pasta al dente.  Strain and pour into the bowl used above.  Mix and serve immediately!
Finally, you can even use tuna for dessert! I have not had the audacity to try, but you will find the recipe in the latest book by Philippe Conticini: it is flowing tuna and hazelnuts.  Any takers?

Please share your experience with your “tuna cabinet digging” recipes!

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