what am i gonna do with all that canned tuna?

There have been reports this past week about canned tuna containing far more mercury that people originally thought.

it’s the age old dilemma of someone telling you that you can’t do something, therefore you wanting to do it anyway. Like last year, when I gave up French fries for Lent. Laugh all you want, but that was during a time of my life when I was eating French fries about 5 times a week. giving them up was hard – really hard, especially with temptation around every corner. I would wake up in the morning and immediately think of French fries. I know it’s all in my head. So when someone tells me I shouldn’t eat canned tuna anymore, what’s a girl to do with all those cans lurking in the pantry?

[This year I gave up alcohol for Lent for one (or more) days per week, and it’s been a hell of a ride so far. Who knew I depended on those two glasses of wine with dinner?]

When I went to college, my dad sent me a care package. Amongst the odds and ends in there such as a saucepan and some cutlery, he had packed over 20 cans of tuna. I kept digging in the box and pulling out can after can of the stuff. I felt like Felix the cat who’d hit the jackpot. This is especially funny to me because one whole wall of my Dad’s garage out in California is all canned goods, a good portion of it mostly canned tuna. I think it’s a combination of having grown up during WWII when food was scarce and the idea of “The Big One” that may hit the west coast any day now which provokes my dad into stocking up on food whenever there’s a big sale at the store. At any rate, I always have cans of the stuff handy because I sometimes get these mad cravings for a tuna sandwich, and when one gets those kind of cravings, one needs to deal with them. Nothing else at that point will do.

So yesterday I read a bunch of articles on how it’s bad to eat tuna now as the mercury levels are super high, yadda yadda, and all I have to say is, Meh. I’m fairly healthy – in fact, as I type this I realize that other than some wicked seasonal allergies, I’ve not been sick in well over a year (no fever, no flu, etc). So I see nothing wrong with fulfilling my tuna craving right now.

Tuna and white bean salad – a no-shop meal, if you have a well-stocked pantry

One can of white kidney beans (cannellini), drained and rinsed
One can of water packed tuna (if you use oil packed tuna, use less oil in the vinaigrette), drained
Whatever herb you have lurking in the fridge; I used a few leaves of torn basil, but you could use parsley. I guess you could use cilantro, but that seems weird to me. and contrary to something someone once said to me, adding cilantro to a dish does not automatically make it Mexican. Sheesh.
2 to 3 green onions, sliced
A few handfuls of torn romaine leaves
Sliced tomatoes (optional)
1 tablespoon capers, drained (optional – I really wish I’d had some today, as I was craving a pickly bite, but alas, none were to be found)

Toss the tuna, beans, green onions, and herbs into a bowl. Tear up the romaine leaves and put on a serving plate along with some sliced tomatoes. Then make the vinaigrette.


This is all to taste. I prefer a very acidic vinaigrette, so I lean towards less oil and more vinegar, but, obviously, taste as you go and see what you prefer.

2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt, pepper
About 2 tablespoons olive oil (add more to your liking)

Whisk together these ingredients and, one tablespoon at a time, drizzle over the tuna and bean mixture. Toss well together. TASTE it at this point, as I’ve noticed salads like this like a lot of salt. Spoon it over the romaine and tomatoes.

This should serve two as a light lunch. However, I’m a pig today and I ate the whole thing in one sitting. There could be worse things to eat for lunch, like French fries.

And now, having said that, I’m craving fries. Damn.


Darrel G said…
My favorite lunch out in the world of fast food is to go to Subway and get a footlong tuna sub on wheat with pepperjack cheese, toasted with jalapenos, onions, green peppers, spicy mustard, chipotle sauce, salt, pepper, and oregano. ANY deviation from this formula probably leads to a slow painful death so why chance it?
Otherwise, I don't eat tuna unless it is raw. Cooked tuna sux as it has little, if any flavor at all. Some thick grilled tuna steaks are OK if they are still raw in the middle but most people try to over cook it.
RuggerDucky said…
The real danger is feeding it to kids whose brains are still developing or to pregnant or nursing women. One of the local newscasters here tried to do a 30 day test--she ate 1 can of tuna per day. At 20 days, her mercury levels were dangerously high, and her doctor forced her to quit the testing. She's committed to reducing her mercury count, and was not planning a pregnancy, but still, very scary stuff.

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