Thursday, July 14, 2011

Clean Eating in a Can : Tuna Fish

     Canned tuna fish is a staple pantry item for the Clean Eater. Besides the standard tuna fish salad on a bed of greens or on the occasional tuna melt for lunch, canned tuna is versatile, relatively inexpensive, and Clean.

As tuna is an opportunistic fish that eats other fish species, they typically can have a higher mercury content than other fish that don't eat other fish. Research has shown that "chunk light" tuna made with immature skipjack tuna has a lower mercury content than albacore. 

StarKist notes in its FAQ that “FDA testing has shown that canned light meat tuna has an average of 0.1 parts per million (ppm) and that Albacore (white meat) tuna has an average of 0.35 ppm.” The reason is that albacore are larger, older fish than the types used for white tuna, so they’ve had more time to accumulate methylmercury.

 The amount of mercury ( PPM , or "Parts Per Million" ) is still relatively low - but if you are concerned, stick with "chunk light." I will still eat albacore; I prefer it significantly over chunk light.

There are a number of main meals and side dishes one can put together with a can of tuna!

Tuna Risotto 

14 oz low-sodium vegetable broth
1-1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup brown risotto rice or other medium-grain brown rice
2 tsp Italian seasoning (or 1/2 tsp each dried basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme)
2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
11 oz tuna, pouched or canned, in water

Prepare risotto: Pour broth and 2-1/4 cups water into a 1-1/2 or 2 qt saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. (NOTE: You’ll be holding the liquid at a simmer throughout preparing the risotto) In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil for 1 minute over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in rice, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often to coat rice with oil.

 Carefully dip a glass or metal measuring cup into simmering stock and measure out 1/2 cup liquid. Gently pour 1/2 cup liquid into rice, being careful to avoid the rising steam. Let rice simmer for 3 minutes, stirring at least once every minute to help grains release their starches.

Dip measuring cup into stock again and add 1 cup liquid to rice, stir and let simmer for 5 minutes or until rice has absorbed liquid, again stirring every minute. Repeat procedure with another 1 cup liquid. Then add only 1/2 cup liquid at a time, simmer each batch for 5 minutes and continuing to stir rice occasionally. When adding the final 1/2 cup liquid, add Italian seasoning to rice as well.
Remove risotto from heat and gently stir in cheese and tuna.

Tuna Salad Nicoise