tuna

TUNA GREEK SALAD PLATTER (SPONSORED)

Tuna Greek Salad Platter - A Thought For Food

My pescatarianism comes up often in conversation. This isn’t a huge surprise as I spend my days photographing burgers and steaks and roast chicken. There’s a fascination that individuals have with the dichotomy between my work and diet. When asked to explain, I typically give the same spiel: around the time of my 15th birthday, I stopped eating meat (though I’m quick to clarify that fish is meat). I had spent the previous summer at a film program in Oxford, England, where lunches and dinners consisted mostly of beef covered with cream sauce with big piles of potatoes to go with it. I came back from that trip with the feeling that my body needed to switch things up and quickly realized that I felt better after eating seafood.

During the first few years of this new diet, I consumed quite a bit of tuna, as this was something I could easily pack for lunch or afternoon snack. I still always keep at least a few cans in the pantry.  And while I will use tuna packed in water for creating a mayonnaise-based tuna salad, I always prefer tuna in olive oil. I was very excited to have the opportunity to try Portofino’s Italian-style tuna. This isn’t the kind of canned tuna I wanted to mask the flavors. Instead, I wanted to taste the subtle richness of the extra virgin olive oil and high quality albacore.

I thought a lot about what I could do with Portofino tuna, but kept going back to the Greek salad. Now, if your only experience with one of these is a soggy platter of greens and shriveled, bland olives you had at a diner one time, well, this is not that. When done right, a Greek salad can be a beautiful thing. Fresh ingredients are a must, but also high quality feta and kalamata olives are key. I didn’t really want to mess with perfection, but I felt that the addition of spring asparagus would give it some seasonal flare with a bright dill dressing to lighten everything up.   And, of course, the tuna was an excellent topping to round out this satisfying dish.

Be sure to try Portofino out when planning your next dinner (In the Boston-area, it’s available at Market Basket, Hannaford, and Big Y). For those planning a getaway this summer, their tuna comes in packets as well, making it easier to transport this wonderful ingredient.

Tuna Greek Salad Platter - A Thought For Food
Tuna Greek Salad Platter - A Thought For Food

TUNA GREEK SALAD PLATTER

Yield:
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
For the Salad
1 head Romaine lettuce, leaves washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, partially peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained (if there’s liquid)
Feta, cubed
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, stems removed
1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed
2 cans Portofino Italian-style canned tuna

For the Dressing
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions:
Fill a large pot with an inch of water. Bring water to a boil. Add steamer basket with asparagus to the pot and cook for 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus spears.

Meanwhile prepare a large ice bath in a bowl. Transfer asparagus to the ice water to stop the cooking process.

To prepare the dressing, whisk the Dijon mustard, dill, salt, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar in a medium-bowl. While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in olive oil until emulsified. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together all of the salad ingredients. Transfer to a serving platter and top with tuna. Serve with the dressing on the side.

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food

Sushi and I have been good friends for quite a long time. My first experience consuming raw fish occurred when I was a sophomore in high school. I was spending the afternoon in New York with some pals and we ended up at a food quart with lots of options. I probably got a sandwich or a burger (this was before I became pescatarian), but someone brought a small platter of sushi to the table. We all looked curiously. What's that?  Even as a kid, I was an adventurous eater, so when she asked me if I wanted a piece, I said, "Sure!" Without thinking too much about it, I loaded it with wasabi and soy sauce (too much of both) and stuffed the whole thing in my mouth. After my sinuses stopped burning, I was able to enjoy the subtle flavors and variety of textures in that single bite. From that moment on, I was hooked.

There are other moments in my life where sushi has played an essential role. Like my relationship with Eric. When we had our initial phone conversations about where we should go for our first date, I suggested coffee or cocktails... you know, in case we didn't hit it off.  We agreed on a place and time and that was that. But a few days later, I got a call from him asking if I ate sushi. Yes... yes I do. Good, he said. Let's get sushi. As we sat at the table, a boat of sashimi and nigiri before us, he said, "Just so you know, if you didn't like sushi, I was going to break things off." And while some people might see that as being a bit dismissive, I was right there with him. I find that people who eat sushi tend to be more open-minded, especially when it comes to food. At the time, I knew I wanted a partner who was just as passionate about food as I was. I wanted to be with someone who was willing to take risks in life. When he told me that, I knew it was meant to be. (I should also add that we named our dog, who we got just before we were married, Maki. Yup... obsessed)

Needless to say, when I came across a recipe for Ahi Tuna Poke, in Sara Forte's striking new book, The Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl and Spoon, I was sold on making it. The whole thing came together so easily, I had to wonder why I'd never tried it before. It's basically a giant sushi roll bowl! Say THAT a few times. Sushi roll bowl. Sushi roll bowl. You can top it with all different kinds of veggies and make it as spicy as you'd like. Sara recommends wasabi or chili flakes, but I love the chili paste we keep stocked, so I went with that. Add to that a bit of grated ginger and garlic and a drizzle of soy and sesame oil and you have a kickin' marinade.

If I haven't expressed how much I adore Sara's book (and Hugh's pictures), let me take a moment to just say this. Buy the book. Now. The photos jump off the page, the writing tells a beautiful story, and the recipes... well, I guess that's the most important part. These are recipes that will stand the test of time. They can be made for a big dinner party or a quick weeknight meal (I'd say this poke falls under the latter). It's a book you keep in your kitchen... there's endless amounts of inspiration. Again... go get the book. 

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food
ahi tuna poke bowl-3887.jpg
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl - A Thought For Food

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl

Source Adapted very slightly from the recipe in Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte

Yield 4 servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups short-grain brown rice or white rice
1 1/2 pounds sushi-grade ahi tuna
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Chili paste
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 bunch (about 8) medium radish, thinly sliced
2 large, ripe avocados
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Sesame seeds

Directions

1. Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh strainer. Cook the rice according to instructions or in a rice cooker.

2. With a sharp knife, cut the ahi into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger, grated garlic, vinegar, and chili paste, to taste. Add the ahi and green onions and stir gently to combine. This much can be done up to 1 hour in advance. Keep chilled.

3. Just before serving, pit and dice the avocado into small cubes.

4. Arrange your poke bowl with a generous scoop of rice, ahi tuna, avocado, grated carrot and sliced radish. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve with cilantro and more soy sauce on the side.