Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh Look We're Having Tuna Salad

Some how or other I never got around to posting this - and given the Saint's name day how could I have forgotten. Anyway better late et al. And it was a great, though sadly our last, evening with Yves, Rolando, Joe and Peter. That's the way of life in the foreign service as people move around from post to post.

Well yes we are - tonight as we say goodbye to two of our colleagues at dinner - we are starting with tuna salad. But not just any old Tuna Salad. Back in March when I was in Barcelona I had THE TUNA SALAD! It was around 1400 and we were heading up to the Gaudi Parco Guell. The old tummy was suggesting that food was in order but the pickings for sustenance were a bit scarce in the area - a sandwich shop appeared to be the only thing open, that and a hole in the wall bar.

Well that old saying about books and covers definitely applied - that hole in the wall was only the entrance to a very small but homey restaurant: la Pousada Caballito Blanco. The waiter, an older gentleman, seemed to have a bit of an attitude but the menu looked inviting with all manner of tapas and the omni-present paella. I went for the tapas including THE TUNA SALAD. What the waiter, now a bit more friendly, place in front of me was a small piece of culinary art: a tower of tuna. As I scrapped up the dressing with a piece of (forbidden) bread I told him how good it was and asked what was in it. At that point he became all smiles and affability. Nothing really unusual he assured me: tomato, tuna, caramelized onion, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Why you could make it at home.

And indeed I can and have. It is a great starter or could be a main for summer lunch.
The Tower of Tuna: this was how it ended up for last night's dinner (July 29) - along with a salad of thinly sliced finocchio, celery and cucumber (all white and crunchy)sprinkled with parsley then liberally dressed with gingered olive oil.

Here's my re-creation, sorry but measurements are pretty much by eye on this one.
The Tower of Tuna (serves 4)

4 large ripe tomatoes
2 cups or more caramelized onions (click for recipe)*
Canned tuna (preferably packed in olive oil)
Fresh Ground Pepper
Balsamic vinegar
Olive Oil (from tuna with additional if needed)

Slice each tomato into thick slices and drain on paper towel - make sure you put the slices in order so you can reconstruct the tomato.

Place the bottom slice on a plate - you may want to drizzle a bit of balsamic reduction on the plate before hand if you want to go all fancy.

Crumple a generous amount of tuna on top of the tomato slice, salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar then a spoonful of caramelized onion.

Alternate tomato with tuna/onion/oil/vinegar layers and cap with the top slice.

And that's it.

*I like the idea in this recipe of deglazing with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

If you have some extra caramelized onion you might want to scatter them around or save them for the next night's hamburgers.
The biggest chore in all this is the onions. I've taken to doing a whole pile at once - they can be frozen and used on hamburger or around roasts.

The rest of tonight's menu: Saltimbocca alla Romana (here's a link to GBs recipe over at Italian Notebook), roast potatoes and spinach, a green salad and peaches in red wine.

A great way to say goodbye to a great colleague and his partner.

Written on: 09 luglio - Sant'Agostino Zhao Rong e i 120 martiri cinesi

Posted on: 30 luglio - San Pietro Crisologo
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Anonymous said...

That tuna salad is amazing. The caramelized onions make it taste so different and fresh in-season tomatoes are essential too.


sageweb said...

I love that, funny I brought a tuna sandwich with 4 big slices of fresh tomatoe..yummy.

Sling said...

I love all things tuna!
That whole meal looks delicious.
A cool and refreshing Summer time treat. :)


oooh....i'm going to make some of looks delicious...and i looove tuna..and tuna was on sale last week and i have about 12 cans of to get the tomatoes and make it...i love carmalized onions..they make everything better...kinda like bacon but not as juicy.

more cowbell said...

looks delicious! I know I'd make a total mess trying to eat that though. I may have to actually try to make that ...