Tuna fish three ways
There is nothing more fun than taking a simple dish – like tuna fish – and finding new ways to present it and eat it. It’s all about options with this tuna trio. I came up with these ideas as part of my cooking segment for KCRA3 on what college kids can make in their dorm room kitchens. Unless things have changed dramatically since I went to college, which is possible, it’s all about cheap, quick and easy. Also, tuna fish is a very healthy option for college kids who may be concerned about the ‘freshman 15’ because it gives them the protein and Omega3’s they need for those late nights of ‘studying’. And it’s inexpensive. Bonus. And let’s face it. It’s super quick and easy to make. Of course it’s delicious as a sandwich as well but if you are looking for some lighter ways to get that protein then this is for you. I would also serve this as part of a brunch or luncheon menu because it’s colorful and interesting.
You simply start by making a classic tuna. My recipe is below but use whatever is your favorite or what you grew up with. I also like it with apples and celery or even a couple of dashes of Tabasco. But when I’m making it for my kids they prefer the classic. Even the red onions are little iffy for them and I may have to omit those and just go with about 1 teaspoon of onion powder. But one thing we can all agree on is the pickles.
If you live in an area that has heirloom tomatoes available (and it’s summer) then I recommend using that for the stuffed tomato version. If not then a nice, ripe juicy hot house tomato. And for the avocado pick one that is ripe but firm. A mushy avocado will ruin it and will be hard to peel. Ask your grocer for help if you are unsure.
As for the orange segments that’s the only maybe slightly tricky part to the whole dish. If you haven’t done it before here’s a picture. Cut both ends off the orange so it sits flat on the cutting board. Then use a sharp paring knife to knife to remove the outside skin from the flesh. I go from top to bottom so starting at the top of the orange and cutting downwards toward the board. Then just insert your knife where you see the connective lines in the orange. One or two may fall apart but you’ll get the hang of it. If it’s your first time then buy an extra orange for practice. But I bet by the end of the first orange you’ll be a pro.
Now if you are in college of course you are not going to make a trio. But this gives you some ideas of what you can do with tuna if you are tired of the same old sandwich option. And then later…when you are ready to host a luncheon or say bridal shower for a friend…you can remember these ideas. For a large crowd I would use smaller tomatoes and stuff a little bit into each for a one-bite option. Also works great with crab salad or chicken salad.
- 1 small can solid white tuna (5.3 oz)
- 1/3 cup mayonaisse
- 1/3 cup dill pickles, chopped plus 1 Tablespoon pickle juice
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped (or substitute 1 teaspoon onion powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- several dashes Tabasco (optional)
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 avocao, rip but firm
- 1 naval orange
- Combine the tuna, mayo, pickles and pickle juice, red onion or onion powder, celery salt, and pepper in a bowl and stir with a rubber spatula to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Segment the orange using the method desribed above. Remove the skin from the flesh and cut carefully along the connective lines.
- Cut the avocado in half and remove the inside pit. Slice one half into segments. Cut a small part of the bottom of the other half so it lies flat on the plate.
- Using a spoon or ice cream scoop mount the tuna into the tomato and avocado. On the third one place a mound of tuna on the platter and arrange the avocado and orange slices around it.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Not recommended more than 30 minutes ahead. If slicing the avocado ahead rub with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.