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  • Writer's picturehungryhungryhayden

Tuna Casserole



You just think you don't like tuna casserole.


Ingredients:

Albacore Tuna in the Pouches- Tuna in pouches is better for a couple reasons. First, it doesn’t require draining. Secondly, it tastes better because pouches have more surface area and aren’t exposed to as much heat when being processed. And with fatty fish like tuna, overcooking them makes them taste fishy. My advice is to never make tuna casserole with canned tuna, but it's your casserole, do what you want. Albacore is my preference here because it is more firm and has a more firm texture. It does have a higher mercury content and is less sustainable, so if those things matter to you, get chunk light. *If you're feeling ambitious, get tuna steaks and confit them with herbs. That's a lot of work though and I certainly do not expect anyone to do that*

Carrot, Celery, and Onion- just a basic mirepoix . 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, and ½ onion per lb of tuna. Small dice on everything.

Garlic- if you're an avid reader, you knew this was coming.

Dry White Wine- a pretty hefty amount. The acid helps cut any residual fishy flavor. If using a lot of wine makes you uncomfortable, cut it with lemon juice.

Fresh herbs- completely optional, but helps cut the richness of the tuna and béchamel. I recommend parsley or other mild herbs.

Black Pepper- to taste

Béchamel- flour, butter, and milk. I just make it in the same pot the aromatics are cooking in

Frozen peas- Completely optional, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen Tuna casserole without them

Frozen egg noodles- these are head and shoulders better than dried. plus these help thicken the casserole and help it hold together. if you use dried egg noodles, temper an egg or two into the béchamel to give the casserole more structure.

Parmesan Cheese- yes cheese and fish is good together...sometimes. The parm primarily brings saltiness, acid, and umami instead of cheesiness.

Crackers- Crushed, serve as a crunchy topping.


Technique:

1. Heat up a heavy bottomed dutch oven over medium high heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter and oil and diced mirepoix. Cook until carrots soften and onions become translucent.

2. Add garlic and cook until it softens. Sprinkle in enough flour (about as much flour as oil used to start) to absorb all the liquid and oil and cook until a golden-brown fond develops in the pan.

3. Deglaze with enough wine to dissolve all the fond on the bottom of the pan. Once incorporated, start adding milk in increments. Add a little, stir vigorously until incorporated, and repeat until is the consistency of a thick soup. Add parmesan and simmer until it thickens to the consistency of a stew.

4. Is a casserole dish, add frozen noodles, peas, and tuna. Dump the béchamel over top, season aggressively with salt, and mix thoroughly. Top with crushed crackers and bake at 350F until browned on top and warmed through. Try to cook it as little as possible because overcooked tuna does not taste great.


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