Tuna Casserole Pasta Salad

September 13, 2015

Tuna Casserole Pasta Salad - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

 

Margaux says…

I know, I know…why am I posting about something boring like tuna pasta salad? Where’s the cake? Cookies? Cupcakes? It’s end of summer harvest…where are the tomatoes? Zucchini? Sweet corn? Well, sometimes I have nothing in the pantry but a couple of cans of tuna, some pasta, some frozen peas and some parsley.  When I desperately need to go grocery shopping, it’s likely that I have those things. So I make this tuna pasta salad, a recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated 30-minute suppers magazine that I’ve vowed to post all of my favorite recipes from.

And this is not your normal tuna pasta salad. It’s not mayonnaise-y or sweet. It has great flavor and a little bit of a bite from the lemon, garlic and Dijon mustard. I like to serve it on a bed of arugula, and if I have them on hand, with a handful of cherry tomatoes thrown in, too. The original recipe calls for toasted breadcrumbs on top, which I don’t love the texture of, but I’ll include the steps to that for those of you who would like it!

Tuna Casserole Pasta Salad

adapted from 30-Minute Suppers from America’s Test Kitchen, Fall 2010 edition

2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, torn into pieces (optional)

1/2 cup olive oil (plus 1 tbsp if doing bread crumbs)

3 tbsp juice from one lemon

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 (6-oz) cans tuna packed in water, drained and flaked into large chunks (I like the “chunk light” tuna)

1 pound small shells

2 cups frozen peas

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. If doing bread crumbs, pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about 6 pulses. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

2. Whisk lemon juice, mustard, garlic, Worcestershire, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper together in large bowl. Slowly whisk in remaining oil. Gently toss tuna with 1/4 cup dressing in separate bowl.

3. Meanwhile, add shells and 1 tbsp salt to boiling water and cook until almost al dente. Add peas to pot and cook additional 1 minute. Drain pasta and peas and rinse with cold water. Add pasta, peas and parsley to bowl with remaining dressing and toss to coat. Gently fold in tuna and season with salt and pepper. Serve, topping each portion with bread crumbs.

Serve over a bed of arugula, or by itself with a green salad on the side.

 

 

Salmon with Chick Peas and Mustard Greens - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This recipe caught my eye because Randy has been talking up trying the slow-roasting method for cooking salmon. Our usual approach is high-heat roasting for a very short period of time.  We also love mustard greens; this is an unusual, but ultimately delicious, use of them.  As Margaux says, the slow-roasting yields a tender and, we felt, silky textured piece of salmon. The original recipe called for 4 pieces of salmon, but we both made it with 2, using the full quantities of ingredients for everything else. If making with more pieces of salmon, we recommend upping the amounts of the other ingredients. We served with Green Rice and a dry French rosé wine.

Margaux says…

We loved this dish!  I’ve never made salmon slow roasted, and I thought it was really tender and delicious, and not dry at all.  The sauce was divine.  I only made two pieces of salmon, but still made the full recipe of the chickpeas and sauce.  The leftover chickpeas and greens made a nice lunch the next day, and we ended up using almost all of the sauce because it was really good over the rice I made to accompany this as well.

Slow-Roasted Salmon with Mustard Greens, Chickpeas and Lemon-Mustard Sauce

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons plus olive oil
1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch small mustard greens, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon honey dissolved in 3 tablespoons hot water
2 4-6-oz. salmon fillets
1/2 small shallot, very finely chopped
Juice of  1 lemon, or more to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon honey 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, patted dry
¼ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper

SALMON

Preheat oven to 250°. Lightly coat a large baking dish with oil. Place chickpeas in a medium bowl and mash about half of them with a fork. Remove skins that have come loose. Add the cumin and 1 tablespoon olive oil, stir to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer chickpea mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mustard greens and cook, tossing, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add honey water and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until greens are completely wilted, 2-3 more minutes. Transfer to dish with chickpea mixture.

Season salmon with salt and pepper then arrange over greens and chickpea mixture.  Bake until salmon is opaque in the center, 25-35 minutes, depending on thickness. (Ours were relatively thin sockeye salmon pieces which were fully cooked at 25 minutes.)

Slow Roasted Salmon with Mustard Greens and Chickpeas

LEMON DRESSING AND FINAL ASSEMBLY

Whisk shallot, 1/4 cup olive oil, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon honey in a liquid measuring cup. Season with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the lemon juice. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the capers and crushed red pepper and cook until opened and crisp, about 30 seconds; drain on paper towels.

Place the greens and chickpea mixture on individual serving plates. Top with a piece of the salmon then drizzle with the dressing and top with capers.

Slow Roasted Salmon with Mustard Greens and Chickpeas

Moroccan Baked Fish with Onions, Olives and Preserved Lemon

 

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

We made an extra-gigantic batch of preserved lemons this year, so I’ve been on the hunt for recipes.  A friend pointed out this NY Times recipe a while back, and I’ve been meaning to make it.

gigantic batch of preserved lemons

Our local salmon fisherman, Wild Run Salmon, has started catching and selling cod early in the farmers’ market season. I recently bought some from him and the rest is history, as they say! I decided to make this with cod even though it was not called for in the original recipe. This is a WOW dish –  tasty, colorful and that it’s easy to make is an added bonus. Randy and I were both happy it made enough for two meals this week.  A Sauvignon Blanc was a great match for these flavors.  (I don’t this this would be the case with a New Zealand SB – American or French have the right flavor profile.)

Ingredients for 4 servings

1  pound firm white fish such as halibut, snapper or cod, cut into 4 pieces
Salt and pepper
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped leaves and stems
2 garlic cloves, processed through a garlic press
1/2-1 serrano chile, very finely chopped, to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/2 preserved lemon, finely diced
1/2-1 cup green and/or black pitted olives, cut in half

Directions 

Marinate the fish in cilantro sauce

Toast 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon coriander seeds in a dry skillet till fragrant.  Cool slightly and roughly grind in a mortar and pestle. Place the cilantro, garlic, chile, 1 teaspoon of the ground spice mixture and the paprika in a bowl.  Whisk the 1/4 cup olive oil and lime juice together and add to the cilantro mixture. Salt to taste. Stir to combine thoroughly. Place some of the cilantro sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the fish on top of the sauce, and optionally salt and pepper to taste.  Set a small amount of the sauce aside for serving at the table with the cooked fish. Place the remaining sauce on top of the fish. Cover the dish and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. You can marinate for longer, but refrigerate except for the last hour.  NOTE: 1/2 serrano packed a lot of heat in the sauce, so I say use sparingly so the heat doesn’t blot out the flavor.

Moroccan Baked Fish with Onions, Olives and Preserved Lemon

Prepare the sauteed onions

Slice the onions. I recommend cutting “pole to pole” rather than “around the equator”.  I learned this technique a few years ago, which results in firmer and less stringy onions. Place the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan and heat over a medium burner. When it begins to shimmer, add the butter. When butter is melted and slightly bubbly, add the onions. Stir to coat, then add the remaining ground spice mixture, 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, the turmeric and cayenne and stir to combine thoroughly. Turn up the heat slightly and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions just begin to brown, 10-15 minutes.  Place in an oblong baking dish large enough to hold all the fish on top of the onions. Stir in the preserved lemon and place the olives on top.

Bake the fish with the onions 

Preheat the oven to 400°F.   Place the fish on top of the onions, scraping all the remaining sauce on top of the fish. Bake on the top level of the oven for 10-15 minutes, until fish is firm to the touch.

Serving suggestions

You can place the fish on top of the onions on serving plates or alongside as shown in the photo. Place a little of the reserved sauce on each serving. You can see we served with fresh roasted asparagus – it’s that time of year!  I think roasted potatoes or some sort of rice dish would be a nice complement.

 

 

shrimp with feta

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I recently got together again with friends Ruth, Toni and Velma for an afternoon of cooking.  Ruth found this delicious and easy recipe from The Contessa and we all agreed we should try it.  I must say it was very easy to put together, but then again, there were four of us in the kitchen sharing cooking duties.  We loved the beet and fennel salad we had last time we got together so much we served it again.  The roasted shrimp dish went really well with crusty bread, a nice Pinot Grigio and a sunny July early evening on the deck!

I recommend you watch this video of Ina Garten making this dish.  It illustrates just how how easy it is and shows how to make the fresh breadcrumbs.  I think it’s hilarious that she adds way more of certain ingredients than she specifies in the recipe like the wine, olive oil, parsley and lemon zest.  I like the way she cooks by feel vs. measuring.  🙂  We’ve adapted the recipe slightly, which you could easily do as well. I will also mention it says on the Food Network site that this dish serves 4.  I think that would be 4 very hearty eaters – four of us dined very well and still there were leftovers.

Ingredients

4 tablespoons EV olive oil, divided
1 1/2 – 2 cups medium-diced fennel (2 medium bulbs)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine (unoaked)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Pernod, Anisette or Sambuca
1/2  teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 – 1 1/4 pound (16 to 20 per pound) raw shrimp, unpeeled and deveined
5 ounces good feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 lemons, one cut into wedges

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10 or 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the fennel and saute for 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat, until the fennel is tender and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute till fragrant. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes with their liquid, tomato paste, oregano, Pernod, salt and pepper to the skillet. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Arrange the shrimp in one layer over the tomato-mixture in the skillet. Scatter the crumbled feta evenly over the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over the shrimp.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp. Serve hot with the remaining lemon cut into wedges.

Notes on ingredients:

SHRIMP: The original recipe called for peeled, deveined shrimp with tails on.  We used unpeeled, deveined and cooked with the shell on thinking that it would add more flavor.  While this makes it more challenging to eat, it insures that the shrimp will be juicy and succulent.  I thought the specified amount of shrimp was a lot and will try this in the future with just one pound of either extra-large, as called for, or large shrimp.

PERNOD: None of us has Pernod or Anisette in our liquor cabinet, and we didn’t want to spend the $30 on a bottle just for a tablespoon.  Luckily Ruth had Sambuca. We had our doubts given the sweetness of that liqueur, but it worked beautifully.

FETA:  Try to find a solid piece of feta for this dish and crumble it by hand.  Crumbled feta comes packaged with cellulose powder or other anti-caking agents which affect how it melts.  I recommend French sheep’s milk feta, if you can find it, for it’s soft texture and great melting properties.  The Greek feta recommended by Ina is also good.

BREAD CRUMBS: We used a french bread that was on the softer side for the bread crumbs.  We processed it with the crust, which didn’t break down as finely as the inside of the bread.  I liked the texture this added to the bread crumb topping.

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

Fish Tacos continue to rule!  This recipe was posted recently in our local Sunday newspaper, and I decided to make it last night to welcome my brother John, who is visiting this weekend from Illinois.  (Of course, being me, I made many adaptations. :-)) We all concluded this was a winner and stacks up favorably to the other two fish taco recipes I posted this summer.  I served it with a corn, black bean and cherry tomato saute, adding a small can of beans, about a cup of cherry tomatoes and juice of half a lime to the corn and onion base we had leftover from a recent dinner.  Add an unoaked Chardonnay and YUM!

This recipe makes 8 tacos

The Slaw

2 cups shredded cabbage

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 minced small jalapeno pepper

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, 1/2-inch dice

1/2-1 teaspoon salt, to taste

Juice of half a large lime

Blend all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

The Chipotle Sour Cream

1 cup sour cream

5 tablespoons Frontera Chipotle Hot Salsa OR

1 tablespoon sauce from Chipotle peppers in adobo

Blend thoroughly and set aside.  (Note:  I think the salsa adds a great flavor and other brands of Chipotle salsa would work just as well as the Frontera.)

The Fish

1 pound Mahi-Mahi or other white fish fillets

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Canola oil

We grilled this over charcoal, but you could use a gas grill or broil in the oven.  If using a grill, bring charcoal or gas to medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, cut the fish into 3-inch segments, with an eye to consistent thickness. Coat both sides of each piece with the spice mixture, drizzling a little oil on right before grilling.  Place the fish on the grill directly over the heat.  Grill for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until the fish is translucent. Let the fish rest for 5-10 minutes before assembling the tacos.

Assembling the Tacos

8 or more corn tortillas

Lime wedges to pass

Place the tortillas in foil and heat in a 350° oven for 5-7 minutes.  Remove from oven.  For each taco:

Place a few chunks of fish on a tortilla.   Add sour cream and slaw to taste.  Squeeze a little lime over all.  Enjoy! Note: if you do not do dairy, this is just as delicious with the Chipotle Salsa right out of the jar.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

As with so many things I cook, I saw a recipe which made me think of something else from which I created an amalgamation.  The recipe that triggered this meal was a riff on the burrito bowl – Caribbean Jerk Salmon  Bowl which included mango salsa.  It reminded me of a recipe I’ve made from Joy of Cooking – a grilled chili-crusted flank steak with mango salsa.  Shazam – this spicy salmon served with the Joy of Cooking mango salsa!   This is both elegant and easy to make, a combination I adore.  Enjoy with green rice (made here with 100% arugula) and a dry rose wine.

This makes 3-4 servings with 1 pound of salmon 6-8 servings with 2 pounds (depending on appetites)

The Mango Salsa

1 small red onion, diced

1 large or 2 small mangoes, peeled and diced (the link will take you to a how-to video)

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 clove garlic minced

1 fresh jalapeno, minced

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup fresh cilantro or mint, chopped

Salt and ground pepper to taste

Placed the diced onion in a bowl of water and set aside for 10 min.  Meanwhile, prepare the mango and put into a medium bowl with the lime juice.  Drain the onions and add to the diced mango with the remaining ingredients. Set aside while preparing the salmon.

The Spiced Salmon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste

1-2 lbs salmon fillet, wild-caught if possible

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Blend the spices together and rub on the salmon.  (You will likely have leftover spice mixture.)  Line a baking sheet with foil and place the spiced salmon on it, leaving the skin on.  Bake for 6-9 minutes depending on thickness.  Be careful not to bake too long and dry out the salmon!  Take out of the oven and let sit for a couple of minutes.  Remove the salmon from the skin by inserting a spatula between the skin and the flesh.  The skin will have stuck to the foil, making it easy to peel the flesh from the skin.   Cut the salmon into serving pieces and serve with the mango salsa.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I’ve been hankering for fish tacos lately and suggested a recipe I made years ago to Randy that uses grilled red snapper and the classic cabbage slaw as a topping.  He countered my suggestion with this recipe which is from a recent Co-op flyer.  Since it was hot as blue blazes out, we opted for this recipe in which the fish is cooked stovetop – no lighting and hovering over a grill!   This was fast to make and fun to eat.  While we made it on a Saturday night, this would be a great option for a weeknight meal.  We both agreed that we’d like to experiment with other fish taco recipes, so let us know about your favorites!  Look for more fish taco postings soon.

This makes 4 servings of two tacos each

The Salsa

1 small can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans)

1 cup diced seeded fresh tomatoes

1 cup diced peeled and seeded cucumber

1 small red onion, diced

1 small jalapeno, minced

1/4 cup lime juice

3 tablespoons canola oil

1/2-3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 avocado, 1/2-inch dice

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the first 5 ingredients into a medium bowl and stir to combine.  Whisk the lime juice and oil together and add to the vegetable mixture along with the cilantro.  Add the avocado right before serving or if you will not be using the entire recipe in one meal, serve the avocado on the side to add to each taco.  (The avocado did not hold up well in the leftover salsa.)

The Fish

1 pound Tilapia or white fish fillets

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2-3 tablespoons canola oil

Warm a platter in a 200 degree oven. Whisk the spices together, along with salt and pepper to taste, in a small bowl.  Rub all sides of the fish fillets with the spice mixture.  Add 2 tablespoons oil to a large non-stick or cast iron skillet and set on a medium-high burner.  When the oil shimmers, add the fillets, two or three at a time depending on size.  Cook until lightly browned and the flesh is opaque, about 2 minutes per side depending on thickness.  Transfer the fillets to the warmed platter while cooking the remaining fish.

Assembling the Tacos

8 or more corn tortillas

Place the tortillas in foil and warm in the oven along with the fish platter. Cut the cooked fish into large chunks (about 1 x 2 inches).  Add 2-3 pieces of fish to each warmed tortilla, top with the salsa and avocado if serving separately.  We used the house made tortillas from Cinco de Mayo Mercado in Minneapolis, which are on the thin side.  We found we needed to double up on the tortillas for each taco or else they broke through.  Even with this problem, we think these are the best locally made corn tortillas around the Twin Cities!