(Sculpture by Howard McAvoy as seen over my kitchen sink)
As you may or may not know, the American Heart Association recommends that we eat fish (preferably oily fish) at least twice a week. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that finds this challenging. I was discussing this matter with my Brunch Girls (we'll be getting to my food groups in the near future) and the consensus was that seafood is expensive and we don't always know what to do with it. In my house we have made an effort to have fish once a week and try to squeeze in a second round when we can. Salmon is the fish of choice. Until recently my kids would only eat salmon and only if prepared with soy sauce and ginger (they have sophisticated palettes I suppose. Not really, they love fluff and hot dogs also). While this is a satisfying meal, especially when served with rice and veggies, it can get a little boring having it every week. I'm doing my best to widen our horizons and here is a recent attempt at switching things up a bit- Linguine with Tuna Puttanesca from (you guessed it) Food TV Magazine's cookbook.
This recipe calls for canned tuna but that happens to top my list of most disliked foods so naturally I went another route. Nelsy happens to have his name on an e-mail list at a local fish store called Fins and Tails (I'd link you there but they don't have a website). He got an e-mail last week that the tuna steaks were on sale so it was the perfect time to try this recipe. One piece goes a long way when you're cutting it up and tossing it with pasta.
I guarantee that this nice looking steak smells nothing like opening a can of tuna...thank goodness. So if using the good stuff, put a little olive oil in a pan and a clove or two of garlic and sear your tuna over medium heat on both sides until cooked through (it will turn white when cooked).
The sauce is a snap to throw together. A can of tomatoes, a few olives and capers (I do love a recipe that includes capers!) and of course garlic make up the sauce.
Linguine with Tuna Puttanesca
12 oz linguine
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 TBS capers, drained
1/2 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives
1 28 oz can plum or whole tomatoes
4 basil leaves torn, plus more for topping
1 5oz can albacore tuna, packed in olive oil (or Fresh Tuna!)
freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook linguine according to directions until al dente. If cooking fresh tuna, saute this at the same time with a little olive oil, garlic and a squeeze of lemon.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring until slightly toasted, 1-2 min. Add the capers and olives, fry 2 more min. Crush the tomatoes into the skillet with your hands (with care so they don't squirt all over the place) and reserve the juices. Cook until the tomatoes are slightly dry, about 2 min. Add reserved tomato juices, the basil and salt to taste and cook until sauce thickens, 1-2 min. Add the tuna with its oil, breaking it up with a fork, and season with salt. (If using the fresh tuna, roughly chop it and toss it in).
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and cooking water and toss. Season with salt and pepper and top with fresh basil.
*Although puttanesca is the Italian word for prostitute, it is highly unlikely that this recipe will invoke promiscuity.