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CULINARY SOS

Tuna salad -- and hold the mayo

August 18, 2004|Barbara Hansen | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: Luna Park serves the best Mediterranean tuna salad sandwich -- so good, in fact, that my boyfriend and I call the restaurant Luna Tuna. I was hoping you could winkle the recipe out of the chef for me.

Susan Lee

Los Angeles

Dear Susan: You're right. The sandwich is exceptional. There's no mayo; instead, imported tuna is combined with sunny Mediterranean ingredients, then layered on grilled ciabatta with an arugula-fennel salad.

Total time: 35 minutes

Servings: 8

Note: Italian tuna is available at Italian delis and specialty food markets.

Lemon vinaigrette

1 cup canola oil

5 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 teaspoons chopped shallots

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1. Pour the oil into a medium bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice, vinegar, shallots, salt, pepper and sugar. Set aside. (Makes 1 1/4 cups.)

Assembly

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

8 (6-ounce) cans or jars Italian light tuna in oil

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons capers

2 tablespoons kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise

3 cornichons, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 roma tomatoes, grilled, peeled and cut into eighths

Salt

Pepper

3 (19-ounce) loaves ciabatta bread

12 ounces arugula

1 cup shaved fennel, about half a fennel bulb

1 cup lemon vinaigrette

1. Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and cook 4 to 5 minutes until softened.

2. Drain the tuna, reserving a few tablespoons of oil with which to moisten the salad. Flake the tuna and combine it with the parsley, capers, olives, cornichons, lemon juice, tomatoes, onions and reserved oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Cut an inch off the end of each loaf of bread. Cut the bread into 4-inch pieces and slice in half. Remove some of the soft center so the sandwich isn't doughy. Grill the bread lightly.

4. In a large bowl, toss the arugula and fennel with the lemon vinaigrette.

5. For each sandwich, place some of the arugula salad on the bottom piece of grilled bread. Top with about 1 1/4 cups tuna mixture. Place more arugula on the tuna and finish with the top piece of bread. Slice in half diagonally and serve.

Each serving: 836 calories; 61 grams protein; 73 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 43 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 55 mg. cholesterol; 1,986 mg. sodium.

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