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After years of eating Bumblebee of the Sea, I stumbled across a tin of this Spanish tuna at Whole Foods yesterday. First time I ever had an imported can and the taste difference was astounding. Great texture -- not mealy, wonderful flavor - not too fishy or bland. Probably had a lot to do with the great Spanish olive oil it was packed in. Mixed it up with some olives, tomato, chopped egg, garlic, lemon juice and some fresh herbs from my garden. Great stuff. Not cheap, though. Whole Foods had it on sale. Normally $10 for the 8.81 oz (250g) large tin I bought, but now was only $6.

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I feel old.

I think I remember cans of tuna whose contents weighed 8 oz. Half a pound; makes sense.

I know I have a cookbook that calls for a 7-oz. in a recipe (that's another story).

Popped into the closest supermarket for a few things on the way home last night, only to find that the cans on sale were not real bargains since they contained only five oz. of a processed food that has become increasingly less appealing over the years. Sitting nearby on the same shelf: one stack of 6-oz. cans.

Just how stupid do manufacturers think we are?

Let's start a boycott of canned tuna, here, folks! Are you with me?

The stuff isn't all that good anymore anyway as an inexpensive sandwich filler since water-packing does nothing for flavor or texture. (Used to like Geneva brand, oil-packed, but the Trader Joe-takeover seems to have had an averse effect.)

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I think I remember cans of tuna whose contents weighed 8 oz. Half a pound; makes sense.

I know I have a cookbook that calls for a 7-oz. in a recipe (that's another story).

Popped into the closest supermarket for a few things on the way home last night, only to find that the cans on sale were not real bargains since they contained only five oz. of a processed food that has become increasingly less appealing over the years. Sitting nearby on the same shelf: one stack of 6-oz. cans.

Just how stupid do manufacturers think we are?

It's not just canned tuna - it's the invisible grocery store shrink ray!

http://consumerist.com/tag/grocery-shrink-ray

Instead of raising the price, they shrink the size.

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Canned tuna (crappy or not) is a staple for me -- easy, quick, and a ton of protein. How do folks who do eat it spice it up (other than buying the spency brands)? Any suggestions?
I go for texture more than spice: crunchy celery and onion (or shallot or scallion). That only works if you like contrasting textures.
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When I can't find the olive oil-packed tuna at Trader Joe's, I get it at Costco. It's so much tastier than cheap water-packed tuna, it's well worth the slight upcharge to me.

Beyond the obvious tuna salad, I use it during the summer in salade niçoise and year-round I make a pasta dish with butterflies, penne or orichiete tossed into a sauce of olive oil, tuna, garlic, capers, lemon zest or preserved lemon, red pepper flakes, and sometimes roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomato, and fresh basil and Italian parsley.

edited to add: I just returned from Costco. A four-pack of Genova olive oil-packed light tuna was $5.49. Hard to find water-pack at that price, in a regular supermarket.

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Agreed on Ortiz in general (www.Tienda.com).
Yes, it's wonderful. But too wonderful for sandwiches and not inexpensive.

I can't find the less costly jars of tuna that Trader Joe's used to carry, i.e., a cheapsake version of Ortiz-type tuna.

Cento's meh. As said above, I think, the oil-packed stuff TJ puts out after taking over (?) the Geneva-brand, isn't as good. Nothing in this country like the great, inexpensive cans (still?) you find in Italy.

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Yes, it's wonderful. But too wonderful for sandwiches and not inexpensive.

I can't find the less costly jars of tuna that Trader Joe's used to carry, i.e., a cheapsake version of Ortiz-type tuna.

Cento's meh. As said above, I think, the oil-packed stuff TJ puts out after taking over (?) the Geneva-brand, isn't as good. Nothing in this country like the great, inexpensive cans (still?) you find in Italy.

This discussion started out with a request for ideas to utilize inexpensive tuna. Presumably that would mean the products available locally. Typically, in this quality-focused group, the discussion quickly moved to the best available products, which are either very expensive or found only on grocery store shelves in Italy.

So, should canned tuna be de-listed from the available low-cost protein options? Is it either Ortiz or Italian or no tuna at all?

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Canned tuna (crappy or not) is a staple for me -- easy, quick, and a ton of protein. How do folks who do eat it spice it up (other than buying the spency brands)? Any suggestions?

Fresh lemon juice + mayo + tuna

Slice some focaccia bread or other type of flat bread

Brush outsides of bread with olive oil

Place tuna mixture, provolone cheese, and some lettuce inside

Grill in a panini press

Or do what I do

Place in a cast iron skillet

Put a frying pan on top of the sandwich in the skillet

Fill a tea kettle to the brim with water and place that on top of the frying pan on top of the sandwich in the skillet

Crank up the flame

Flip once to brown both sides and ensure a good cheese melt

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Fresh lemon juice + mayo + tuna

Slice some focaccia bread or other type of flat bread

Brush outsides of bread with olive oil

Place tuna mixture, provolone cheese, and some lettuce inside

Grill in a panini press

Or do what I do

Place in a cast iron skillet

Put a frying pan on top of the sandwich in the skillet

Fill a tea kettle to the brim with water and place that on top of the frying pan on top of the sandwich in the skillet

Crank up the flame

Flip once to brown both sides and ensure a good cheese melt

That sounds good, but doesn't the lettuce wilt? For hot sandwiches, I tend to make open faced tuna melts with provolone (with my standard tuna salad--mayo, celery, onion). My mom liked it when I made them on English muffins. I used to buy larger sandwich-sized ones, but I don't know if they're still available.

Every now and then, I make the tuna noodle casserole from the Fannie Farmer cookbook. It's an old standby: can of tuna; 2 cups cooked noodles; two cups white sauce; 2 or 3 quartered or sliced hard boiled eggs; and a cup of sliced mushrooms sauteed with some minced onion. Top with toasted buttered breadcrumbs or dried ones dotted with butter. Bake in a casserole dish at 350F for about 20 minutes. Sometimes I double the recipe, except for the eggs.

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That sounds good, but doesn't the lettuce wilt?

Not so much. You only need 5 minutes or so on each side to make sure the cheese melts enough. The ingredients are mostly all at room temperature so you only need to warm it up a bit. You can use thicker guage lettuce to ensure it is crispy after cooking, or use frisee if you want a softer texture. Both are good. I will use whatever is lying around. You can also toss some thinly sliced tomato and red onion in there if you are feeling sporty.

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This discussion started out with a request for ideas to utilize inexpensive tuna. Presumably that would mean the products available locally. Typically, in this quality-focused group, the discussion quickly moved to the best available products, which are either very expensive or found only on grocery store shelves in Italy.

So, should canned tuna be de-listed from the available low-cost protein options? Is it either Ortiz or Italian or no tuna at all?

I only buy the water-based tuna and find the Kirkland (Costco) brand to be one of the best, and one of the least expensive. Well, at least of those that don't contain soy. Believe it or not, you have to look pretty closely on the label to see if the tuna is cooked in a broth that contains soy. (I was quite surprised when I discovered it!) I also like the Tongol from Trader Joe's.

But back to the ideas on how to use it...many times I'll skip the mayo and add my own olive oil for flavor, or if I do mayo I add yellow mustard to the mix. Most recently I was inspired by a special that I had at the Greek Deli. Kostas' tasty dish was a meld of Tuna, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, black olives, diced onions and green peppers. I made it at home sans the onion, and using regular balsamic vinegar. My vinegar turned out to be too dark and rich, so the next time I made it I used white balsamic and that was the ticket. Served over a salad, or even pasta, it makes for a very satisfying meal.

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I only buy the water-based tuna and find the Kirkland (Costco) brand to be one of the best, and one of the least expensive. Well, at least of those that don't contain soy. Believe it or not, you have to look pretty closely on the label to see if the tuna is cooked in a broth that contains soy. (I was quite surprised when I discovered it!) I also like the Tongol from Trader Joe's.
Oil-packed tuna has a texture I prefer to water-packed. It almost like confit, if you think about it. Except that it is subjected to high temperature during the canning process.
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Oil-packed tuna has a texture I prefer to water-packed. It almost like confit, if you think about it. Except that it is subjected to high temperature during the canning process.

Yes, I've found anything with fat tastes better, doesn't it? Growing up, my Mom was ahead of the curve on cooking light and only would use the water-packed tuna, so I acquired a taste for it. Along those same lines, she didn't make a very appetizing tuna casserole, and to this day I cannot eat "hot" canned tunafish. Makes me queasy just thinking about it!

Recently I had the occasion to try the oil packed tuna and even bought it because I liked it so much...until I saw the grams of fat in a serving, and the scale going in the wrong direction. Also if I'm making tuna salad, the oil packed tuna and the mayo together are just too much for my system to handle; it really messes with my blood sugars. So sometimes I'll just add my own olive oil and save the fat grams for an occasional dessert.

(and I was so determined to not be my mother when I grew up...! :P )

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So, should canned tuna be de-listed from the available low-cost protein options? Is it either Ortiz or Italian or no tuna at all?
Not necessarily, though my hissy-fit about 5-oz. cans suggests I will no longer be buying the supermarket stuff to make Arnold-bread-on-sale lunches anymore. It's down to PBJ and egg salad until late July.

Actually headed to A&H today while running an errand in Bethesda and picked up a small can of Oritz: 2.89 oz., drained, for $4, plus all that good, smelly oil. Great for pasta w garlic, caramelized artichoke hearts, parsley and lemon. Or the last of my oven-roasted sun gold tomatoes in a potato salad. Or white beans and red onion...

As for fat content, everything in moderation, or not when a healthful, nutritious fat (olive oil) is concerned.

Besides, there are delicious ways to eat oil-packed tuna in crusty-bread sandwiches without mayo. Capers, garlic, parsley, lemon, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers...

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Not necessarily, though my hissy-fit about 5-oz. cans suggests I will no longer be buying the supermarket stuff to make Arnold-bread-on-sale lunches anymore. It's down to PBJ and egg salad until late July.

Actually headed to A&H today while running an errand in Bethesda and picked up a small can of Oritz: 2.89 oz., drained, for $4, plus all that good, smelly oil. Great for pasta w garlic, caramelized artichoke hearts, parsley and lemon. Or the last of my oven-roasted sun gold tomatoes in a potato salad. Or white beans and red onion...

As for fat content, everything in moderation, or not when a healthful, nutritious fat (olive oil) is concerned.

Besides, there are delicious ways to eat oil-packed tuna in crusty-bread sandwiches without mayo. Capers, garlic, parsley, lemon, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers...

Great suggestions for the sammies. I forgot about the capers and parsley...both of those were ingredients in Kostas' tuna dish that I liked so much. I'll have to try the artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers, too. One of my favorite canned tuna recipes is a family recipe of Hawaiian Potato Salad. Potatoes, Macaroni, tuna, pickle juice, peas, onions...I can't recall all the ingredients, but alas can't eat it anymore due to allergies.

I totally agree on the moderation mantra and love me some olive oil; I know the flavor is better with the oil-packed, but it is just not something that I can do personally. That's why my compromise it to add my own instead of using the oil-packed canned.

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This discussion started out with a request for ideas to utilize inexpensive tuna.

-- stuff snipped --

So, should canned tuna be de-listed from the available low-cost protein options? Is it either Ortiz or Italian or no tuna at all?

Not yet; keep it on the list. I was motivated by this recipe to turn a blind eye to the price of tuna packed in oil and give it a try. This was a great meal; I was patting myself on the back several days afterwards. When I repeated it with water packed tuna it was not as memorable. Although 2 oz for $4 might be a bit steep for my pocket, using a US-branded oil-packed tuna might be worth it.

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I'll have more to say later about what it's like to have moved to a part of D.C. that has as little to offer the home cook as it does the diner. I mean there's Hill's Kitchen and all that, but when it comes to food shopping...

But, but. There on the shelves of the one big, modern supermarket within reasonable walking distance: Genova tuna packed in olive oil!

So thrilled, I bought three cans. Guess what. 5 ounces each. $2.19 at Harris Teeter.

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The legendary Burke and Wells on tuna salad: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/287901

Zora's there, too. From '01

No recollection of this particular discussion, but at least I remain consistent in my tuna sandwich methodology.

Reading the original post now, I am annoyed by the writers' air of certitude that theirs is the only way to make good tuna salad. Onion powder? Lemon pepper? The later elaboration that lack of knife skills produced an uneven presence of onion flavor, and lemon juice made it too watery as reasons for the presence of those two elements is further reason why these two had no business presenting themselves as culinary taste arbiters. Want fresh sweet onion flavor in every bite? Put a chunk of onion into a garlic press. Had they never heard of fresh lemon zest? A major amount of humility, a "JMHO here, YMMV" attitude is preferable to this kind of writing from obvious non-experts.

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So... I have been trying to be more and more conscious/conscientious about my fish buying and eating. The problem is that I really like canned tuna for things like quick lunches or packed in olive oil for different uses. I have been looking and it seems like American Tuna sold at MOM and WF is the only brand I can find that uses line and pole methods through a quick google search, anyone know any others?

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So... I have been trying to be more and more conscious/conscientious about my fish buying and eating. The problem is that I really like canned tuna for things like quick lunches or packed in olive oil for different uses. I have been looking and it seems like American Tuna sold at MOM and WF is the only brand I can find that uses line and pole methods through a quick google search, anyone know any others?

Monterey Bay just added this handy post about buying ocean-friendly canned tuna.

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Never say never--perhaps I've already said that here.

In any case, I found the Italian brand, Flott, at Rodman's (Friendship Heights) yesterday! Expensive, but not as much as high-end Spanish brands: $4.49 for 5 1/2 oz. Packed in olive oil. No PC reassurances other than "Dolphin Safe".

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In any case, I found the Italian brand, Flott, at Rodman's (Friendship Heights) yesterday! Expensive, but not as much as high-end Spanish brands: $4.49 for 5 1/2 oz. Packed in olive oil. No PC reassurances other than "Dolphin Safe".

Ooh, ooh! I've had Flott tuna, and it's excellent, and that's a very attractive price. I guess I need to put a trip to Rodman's on my itinerary for the weekend. I love Rodman's, so this is not a great hardship.

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So... I have been trying to be more and more conscious/conscientious about my fish buying and eating. The problem is that I really like canned tuna for things like quick lunches or packed in olive oil for different uses. I have been looking and it seems like American Tuna sold at MOM and WF is the only brand I can find that uses line and pole methods through a quick google search, anyone know any others?

I recently purchased the Wild Planet brand Albacore Tuna at Whole Foods. According to the label and their website, it is pole/troll hand line caught; claims lower levels of mercury than other kinds, and the can is BPA-free. More info on their website. Just opened the first can yesterday and was pleased with the taste and quality. I don't recall what the price was.

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