When it comes to tuna fish, I kinda have this awesome recipe in my arsenal.
It took years to perfect, years of trying various flavor combinations and different ingredients to try and counteract the fishy smell….but I have it….and it is glorious (and simple)….because tuna fish is glorious (and simply delicious). Or at least Matt seems to think so. I mean, he is the tuna fish connoisseur.
It started when we started dating.
I consider this one of the first meals I remember having with Matt. (He’ll, of course, regale you with the steak sandwich and roasted potatoes story….or the homemade roasted garlic mashed potatoes and how I scarfed them down like I was going to the electric chair….but this one resonates with me still.) With whatever ingredients were available to make it, we would make tuna fish sandwiches accompanied by either fries or potato chips. The simplest of meals do tend to make for some of the best dishes, in my opinion.
Eventually, instead of adding vinegar to the tuna and mayo, lemon juice made an appearance and not only counteracted the smell and provided that acidity that I so desperately crave with creamy mayonnaise, but removed the fishy flavor as well. (Also, tuna and lemon? They really pair well, hot or cold.) Salt and pepper replaced by copious amounts of dill….which is a revelation in itself. I’m serious here, dill is the answer. I can’t begin to explain why, but you’ll understand when you add it. And instead of plain bread crumbs (if you’re gluten free, these can be omitted), lemon pepper panko bread crumbs. (No joke, the flavor that they add? Not to sound basic, but I can’t even. And if you want salt and pepper, you’ll find it in those bread crumbs.) Also, I find that chilling the tuna fish cans in the refrigerator before use is a beautiful thing.
The one bugaboo that most might find an issue with is that I use tuna fish packed in oil. Yes, oil. Tuna in water is fine, but I feel it dilutes the flavor a little and breaks the tuna down way too much. Canned tuna in oil, in my opinion, lends that little extra bit of fat (even with mayo, it’s needed, because Tuna is rather lean for me). We actually had heard about chefs on the Food Network who prefer oil to water, and once we tried tuna in oil, we have (tried) to never buy tuna in water. (Although, if there is a sweet sale, compromises can be made.)
And to add a little Italian flair, switch out the bacon with some fried prosciutto. (As Alex Guarnaschelli would say: growllllllll)
And as always….enjoy!
Jenn’s Ultimate Tuna Fish
3-4 cans Albacore Tuna Fish, chilled and packed in vegetable oil – strained and flaked
1 lemon, juiced (if you don’t have fresh lemon, add about 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice)
1/4 cup lemon pepper panko bread crumbs (can add more if tuna mixture is too runny)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (to start, add more if needed)
2 heaping teaspoons dill (I use dried because it’s easier to handle, but you can use fresh if you’d like)
Your favorite sliced bread (or wrap-just make it something you love)
1) In a small mixing bowl, add strained tuna and using a fork, flake the fish. Add dill, lemon juice, and bread crumbs into bowl. Mix thoroughly.
2) Add mayonnaise and mix until incorporated. If too much mayo, add more bread crumb. If too dry, add more mayo. Serve on your favorite bread or wrap. Makes about 4-6 sandwiches.