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Help me like Tuna

bigpandabigpanda Registered User regular
edited January 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Ok, so I'm in the process of eating healthier and have heard people praise chunk light tuna. i picked up a couple cans but remembered. I hate tuna.

What can I mix in with it to not make it taste so much like... Well, tuna.

I'd prefer to avoid things with a lot of fat (i.e. mayo) as I'm trying to lose weight and in general be healthier.

And do you guys mix it up with some salad or something else or just eat this stuff straight from the can?

bigpanda on
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    Mortal SkyMortal Sky queer punk hedge witchRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Tuna are, depending on the species, endangered and contain a fuckton of mercury.

    I don't eat them. Ever.

    Mortal Sky on
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    PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2009
    Get some higher end whole wheat pasta, boil that up to a la dente softness. Drain, place back in pot. Pour in a small can of cream of celery or mushroom or some other vegetable soup. Dice up a mushroom and toss that in.

    Drain a can of flake light tuna (in water!) and toss that in. Stir it around. Add a small (maaaaybe 1/4 cup?) amount of blue cheese. Dice it up first so it distributes evenly. Bake this concoction at 350 F for like a half hour.

    Fucking delicious and pretty reasonable on the fat.


    I also like to make my tuna salad by using dijon mustard and a small splash of soy sauce instead of mayo, with some finely diced green onions but I'm weird.

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    NatanekoNataneko Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    with canned tuna, I usually make tuna burger but it's made with mayo. you could mix it with soy sauce, lemon juice, honey, cook it in sesame oil... Straight of the can it is pretty meh, but you could cook it with pretty much anything to make it taste better.

    Nataneko on
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    oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I don't like mayo so I mix very little in. It's just a little weird to me without any at all. I'll also add in a little of the vinegar from a jalepeno jar.

    I like to add diced fresh jalepenos, diced onion, and a little black pepper.

    oldsak on
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    PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2009
    Mortal Sky wrote: »
    Tuna are, depending on the species, endangered and contain a fuckton of mercury.

    I don't eat them. Ever.

    This post is more or less completely absurd and unnecessarily alarmist and continued posts along this theme will not be considered okay.

    Pheezer on
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    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
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    OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I like tuna, but I don't know if I could stand it without a goodly amount of mayonnaise. Is light mayo still too fatty for your diet? I usually mix some of that in, plus relish and diced carrots. Diced onions can be nice too.

    It should be said though that tuna has a very strong taste whatever you put it in, and if you don't like that taste, you're probably not going to like stuff made with tuna. You can make yourself keep eating it and see if you can acquire a taste for it, but it's okay at some point to say "this is not for me".

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    JustPlainPavekJustPlainPavek Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I'm not really sure what the health value of this is, probably not great, but tuna cakes are easy:

    - two cans tuna
    - two eggs
    - 1/2 - 3/4 of a pack of saltines
    - spices of your choice; I use a lot of black pepper, a little red, and some oregano or basil, but you can experiment with whatever you have on hand
    - a little lemon juice

    Crumble the saltines up as fine as you can, drain the tuna, and then mix everything together in a big bowl. It'll probably take five minutes or so with your hands; you want the mixture to be able to hold together when you form it into three or four patties, so you may need to add more or less saltines. Get a skillet, coat in olive oil, flip every few minutes on lowest heat to minimize it sticking to the pan. You want it to be brown and cooked through. I eat them with dijon mustard, a little ketchup, and a light salad on the side.

    edit - Hmm, looking closer, this looks like it's close to what Nataneko mentioned above.

    Alternatively, for a very low-frills low-budget sandwich, slice a plain bagel in half, open a can of tuna, drain it, put the tuna on top of the bagel, one or two slices of the cheese of your choice on top of that, microwave for ~45 seconds, you have yourself a tuna melt. Note that the little chunks of tuna have a tendency to pop and explode so this may result in regular microwave cleanings.

    JustPlainPavek on
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    Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Try albacore tuna.

    One easy thing I like to do is make a pot of macaroni and cheese and throw in a drained can of tuna. Instant tuna casserole.

    Sir Carcass on
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    capnricocapnrico Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I can vouch for the mac and cheese and tuna deliciousness but considering the diet concerns the mac and cheese is probably out.

    capnrico on
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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Mortal Sky wrote: »
    Tuna are, depending on the species, endangered and contain a fuckton of mercury.

    I don't eat them. Ever.
    Just to be a bit more detailed on this than pheezer was: the amount of mercury in tuna is insignificant when eaten in moderation. When it comes to canned chunk-light tuna, 1-2 cans per day would be considered "in moderation."

    Canned, chunk light tuna is made from farm-raised tuna, harvested at a young age, so they aren't endangered, and there is minimal mercury.

    That being said, a bit of light mayo isn't going to kill you, panda; moderation is the key. You could also substitute a hard-boiled egg. I throw in some diced pickles or relish, along with some onions.

    Do make sure you're getting enough fat in your diet (around 30% of your calories should be from fat, the vast majority of which should be unsaturated).

    Thanatos on
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    capnricocapnrico Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Depending on your opinion of celery in general some diced celery is also good.

    capnrico on
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    EskimoDaveEskimoDave Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    You could always try Salmon. Its tastier and healthier.

    EskimoDave on
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    bigpandabigpanda Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    EskimoDave wrote: »
    You could always try Salmon. Its tastier and healthier.

    I'm slowly trying to get back into Salmon. Without having to expound too much, I got really bad food poisoning from it one time and was literally vomiting from my eye sockets it was so bad.

    I've had some once or twice in the last year or so, but it usually still makes me kind of queasy once I start to smell it.

    bigpanda on
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    KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I like to make some Tuna salad with light mayo, celery, onions, and diced japalenos.

    Then I make a bowl of brown rice, and mix it in to the salad. It's delicious, brown rice is healthy for you, and it's damn filling. Also, you can make tons of rice and tuna and stick it in the fridge for next meals.

    Kyougu on
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    seasleepyseasleepy Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Obligatory Alton Brown referrals.

    I will say that I generally am not a huge canned tuna fan, but tuna steak is pretty awesome and tastes pretty different from what comes out of a can. It's a lot more expensive though.

    seasleepy on
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    BrotherVoodooBrotherVoodoo Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Eat fresh fish if you can afford it. Fresh fish is much better tasting, however more expensive. But tastes great if grilled and added to salad for a lighter meal than some involving pork/red meat.

    BrotherVoodoo on
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    EliteLamerEliteLamer __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2009
    I hate Tuna.

    EliteLamer on
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    TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I'm going to agree with BrotherVoodoo and Seasleepy. From what I understand, canned tuna has been cooked for like 12 hours to erase any trace of bacteria, and that makes the flavor what it is. I can't stand the taste myself. Though I've never tried fresh tuna because it's more expensive, I have heard that it tastes much less fishy and is pretty much great.

    Terrendos on
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    bigpandabigpanda Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I've had tuna sashimi and liked it. The canned stuff is mostly what I haven't been a fan of.

    I tend to try and avoid cooking fish in the apartment because it's kind of small and I don't want everything smelling like fish for weeks.

    I went over to a friends house for the holidays and they had just fried up some catfish. It smelled fucking delish, but my coat and sweatshirt smelled like it for days. Had to wash the sweatshirt and air the coat out for about a day.

    If you bake it as opposed to frying is the smell as bad?

    bigpanda on
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    Aurora BorealisAurora Borealis runs and runs and runs away BrooklynRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    What kind of canned tuna- in water or oil?

    If it's in water, here's what I make- it's super cheap, takes almost no time, is warm and filling comfort food. The only drawback is that it looks like dogbarf. But the golden mushroom soup is such a strong flavor that the tuna is just another protein- might as well be chicken, I think. Tastes good to me!

    I just realized it's pretty similar to Pheezer's recipe, but there you go.

    1 can tuna
    1 can golden mushroom soup
    optional canned or frozen corn

    one pot cooked egg noodles

    1 frying pan
    Put soup and tuna in frying pan. Do not drain tuna, leave all the water in. Mix in corn. Heat on low until warm and bubbly. Pour over egg noodles. Eat.

    That's it.

    Aurora Borealis on
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    MadpandaMadpanda suburbs west of chicagoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I didn't see it mentioned so I will throw it in.

    Mustard, spicy, normal whatever you like, its pretty non heinous assuming you are not eating a crap ton of it (ie 1 bottle per can of tuna).

    Also for a more completish meal,

    1-2 Whole grain wraps
    1 Can of chunk light tuna drained
    1 Red pepper
    1-2 Tblspoons of hummus.

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    saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    That being said, a bit of light mayo isn't going to kill you, panda; moderation is the key. You could also substitute a hard-boiled egg. I throw in some diced pickles or relish, along with some onions.
    This.

    A little mayo, a hard-boiled egg, relish, red onion and some black pepper with tuna on some some sourdough wheat bread is fucking delicious and nutritious.

    Also, it's been said but make sure you drain the hell out of water in the tuna can. A big part of the real fishy taste comes from the water in there.

    saltiness on
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    EskimoDaveEskimoDave Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    You can also try Miracle Whip. There are all kinds of low calorie/fat versions of it. And I prefer it in my Tuna Salad.

    EskimoDave on
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    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I prefer my tuna served as sushi or sashimi.

    DarkPrimus on
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    poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Tuna is good in a tomato sauce pasta. Just make or buy tomato sauce as you like it, and then stir in the tuna and heat it through. Very nice, and feels a lot healthier than Bolognese.

    Try poaching or steaming fish for the least smelly version.

    As for liking tuna steaks or sashimi but not canned tuna, the Japanese don't even call them the same thing. Canned Tuna is 'sea chicken' and most people would have to think for a moment to connect it to the bright red stuff used in sushi or tuna steaks.

    I don't know about you yourself, bigpanda, but a lot of Americans don't seem to eat much fish or know all the different varieties. Have you tried oily fish (mackerel, herring), snapper, cod etc? Quite apart from the fresh fish, I like canned sardines in a toasted sandwich. Oily fish is also a great way to get good fats in your diet.

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    wenchkillawenchkilla Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Best Foods (Or Hellman's, depending which coast you're on) makes a Canola Oil mayo, which, I swear to God Almighty, tastes exactly the same as real mayo. Okay, well at least I can't tell the difference. Here's the Nutritional Info.

    I like to put diced fresh cucumber in my salad, and the soy sauce does work wonders.

    Whoever mentioned hummus, that sounds inhumanly delicious.

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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2009
    Pheezer wrote: »
    Get some higher end whole wheat pasta, boil that up to a la dente softness.

    Al dente. Italian, not French ('a la dente' means 'with cogs')

    I'm not sure there's much merit in forcing yourself to like canned tuna, I'm also not sure there's much you can do to eradicate or mask it's taste. Perhaps liberal amounts of chilli and other strong tasting spices and flavourings would help but mostly you add canned Tuna under the acceptance that whatever you added it to will now taste of canned Tuna.

    A simple pasta sauce might consist of frying some finely chopped white onion and chives in some olive oil then adding the Tuna, frying briefly then add a spoon of tomato puree and a tin of chopped tomato. Simmer for a few minutes then serve with al dente pasta. You could add chilli powder or a couple of red chillies when you add the tomato puree to make a hot sauce and perhaps mask some of the intensity of the Tuna. I guess it could optionally be served with rice instead of pasta as well.

    Honestly though, I'd scout around for a healthy source of protein that you actually enjoy the flavour of to begin with. There are, as they say, plenty more fish in the sea.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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    The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter One Sly Fox Underneath a Groovy HatRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Like others have mentioned here, try tuna steak.

    I used to hate eating pretty much any kind of non-white fish, but eating tuna steak really got me into tuna.
    Now i'll even eat it raw, altough i prefer it baked on the outside, while completely red on the inside.

    i'll even stomach the canned variety, even if it only tastes like a distant cosin of actual tuna....

    yes, it's more expensive than the canned one, but i think it's worth it from time to time.

    The_Glad_Hatter on
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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I don't really eat all that much tuna (dislike seafood in general) but since you hate it I figure that means we're both in the same boat.

    I want to vouch for the guy who recommended tuna steaks. I frequently find that when I hate tuna the most is when people have made a half-hearted attempt at disguising the fact that it is, in fact, tuna. I either have to mix in a whole lot of stuff until tuna is only about 10% of the ingredients, or I just try and embrace the tuna-ness. Tuna steaks fall into the later category: season with sea salt and a generous quantity of lemon. The flesh is kind of flakey texture but just keep chewing.

    I also want to vouch for the guy who recommended tomato sauce. Marinara sauce in the old world is originally not a tomato sauce--it's a seafood sauce. The word "marina" is right there in marinara. You can't go too far off trying to mix a little seafood in with a tomato sauce and some pasta.

    SammyF on
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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2009
    The Japanese cook a mean tuna steak as well. Google for Teriyaki Tuna.

    Tuna is crazy filling though.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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    illigillig Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    have you tried canned chicken instead? it can be used to basically replace canned tuna in recipes, and it tastes great

    illig on
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    HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    You could try one of those Lipton bags of fettucine alfredo, make it as instructed but toss in a can or two of tuna and maybe a half cup of peas (more or less depending on how much you want to put in). The tuna stops really tasting much like tuna that way.

    (This is essentially dorm food, but it works out to tasting pretty decent)

    Hypatia on
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    ChalkbotChalkbot Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    A trick I picked up when I was eating healthy is that it is possible to make a good tuna sanwhich without mayo. I know how ridiculous that sounds, believe me, I love mayonaise much to my wife's chagrin. This worked so well that I actually started to prefer the flavor to that of the mayonaise.


    Healthy and delicious tuna sandwhich

    Drain a can of tuna and empty the contents into a bowl.
    Add a large dollop of light sour cream.
    Stir that together with a medium squirt of yellow mustard.
    Then add relish, about two heaping spoonfuls.
    Finally add a pinch of black pepper and salt to taste.

    Chalkbot on
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    TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I used to make a pretty nice tuna salad for topping pasta or making sandwiches that used sun-dried tomatoes and basil pesto. It also had mayonnaise, but you can cut that down or replace it I imagine.

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    PaliPali Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    250g cooked pasta
    1 tin of tuna
    1 jar of tomato based pasta sauce (or if you have time make your own)
    2 slices of bread, wholemeal is nice, made into breadcrumbs
    50g grated cheese

    Pre heat oven to gas mark 5, sorry dont know what that is on the electic type cooker!
    Mix together cooked pasta, drained tuna and tomoato based pasta sauce.
    Put this mixture into an oblong oven dish.
    Mix together grated cheese and breadcrumbs, sprinkle evenly over the top of the tuna and pasta mix.
    Cover with aluminium foil and cook in the oven for 30 minutes, uncover for the last 10minutes.

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    TheGreat2ndTheGreat2nd Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
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    NoisymunkNoisymunk Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Mortal Sky wrote: »
    Tuna are, depending on the species, endangered and contain a fuckton of mercury.

    I don't eat them. Ever.
    Just to be a bit more detailed on this than pheezer was: the amount of mercury in tuna is insignificant when eaten in moderation. When it comes to canned chunk-light tuna, 1-2 cans per day would be considered "in moderation."

    Canned, chunk light tuna is made from farm-raised tuna, harvested at a young age, so they aren't endangered, and there is minimal mercury.

    I gotta jump in, being a Marine Biologist and all.

    First off, tuna is delicious and I will consume it canned, raw, or cooked any which way.

    Tuna farming is currently not sustainable enough to be widespread. Tuna are fast swimming fish capable of covering vast distances over sustained periods of swimming. All that swimming is what makes their muscles red and good to eat. They're working on farming them, but we have not seen widespread success yet. The tuna that you buy in a can was caught on the open ocean, and immediately processed in a giant factory ship.

    Whether or not that bothers you is subjective.

    Atlantic Albacore stocks could be considered "at risk", but according to Wiki, the stock has not been assessed in over 10 years. (yikes).
    Pacific Albacore stocks are doing just fine and dandy, and seem to be at all time highs. (My guess as to a cause would be a reduction in predators like sharks and dolphins, but that's got nothing to do with whether or not you should eat tuna).

    Mercury is a valid concern. Tuna do accumulate mercury in their muscle tissue, and if you are an expectant mother, or a child, it would be a good idea to lay off the tuna. For healthy adults like you or me, there isn't much of a problem. The "gov't reccommendation" (oh goody) is no more than 3 cans a week.

    Those are the facts, I'm not trying to be an alarmist, just trying to lay this info all out on the table. Tuna is a healthy and delicious food, as are most fish. I only wish we would strive harder to be more careful about the way we harvest them.

    tldr: Marine Biologist says "eat tuna, but be aware of where it comes from".

    My favorite tuna salad? A little Mayo, a little dill pickle relish, black pepper and celery salt. I also like it sashimi style, but I prefer the texture and flavor of salmon.


    edit: You might want to try the tuna in a foil pouch. It's a little more expensive, but I really like it. The flavor is very nice, and it seems fresher than the can.

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    meatflowermeatflower Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I know we're on the topic of tuna here, but you might enjoy canned Red Salmon. Cost per can is slightly higher but I think it's made up for in the flavor department, while still retaining the healthy quality of tuna. I know it can be had cheap at Costco and other bulk stores, and it's a canned product so why not buy in bulk?

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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Noisymunk wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Mortal Sky wrote: »
    Tuna are, depending on the species, endangered and contain a fuckton of mercury.

    I don't eat them. Ever.
    Just to be a bit more detailed on this than pheezer was: the amount of mercury in tuna is insignificant when eaten in moderation. When it comes to canned chunk-light tuna, 1-2 cans per day would be considered "in moderation."

    Canned, chunk light tuna is made from farm-raised tuna, harvested at a young age, so they aren't endangered, and there is minimal mercury.

    I gotta jump in, being a Marine Biologist and all.

    First off, tuna is delicious and I will consume it canned, raw, or cooked any which way.

    Tuna farming is currently not sustainable enough to be widespread. Tuna are fast swimming fish capable of covering vast distances over sustained periods of swimming. All that swimming is what makes their muscles red and good to eat. They're working on farming them, but we have not seen widespread success yet. The tuna that you buy in a can was caught on the open ocean, and immediately processed in a giant factory ship.

    Whether or not that bothers you is subjective.

    Atlantic Albacore stocks could be considered "at risk", but according to Wiki, the stock has not been assessed in over 10 years. (yikes).
    Pacific Albacore stocks are doing just fine and dandy, and seem to be at all time highs. (My guess as to a cause would be a reduction in predators like sharks and dolphins, but that's got nothing to do with whether or not you should eat tuna).

    Mercury is a valid concern. Tuna do accumulate mercury in their muscle tissue, and if you are an expectant mother, or a child, it would be a good idea to lay off the tuna. For healthy adults like you or me, there isn't much of a problem. The "gov't reccommendation" (oh goody) is no more than 3 cans a week.

    Those are the facts, I'm not trying to be an alarmist, just trying to lay this info all out on the table. Tuna is a healthy and delicious food, as are most fish. I only wish we would strive harder to be more careful about the way we harvest them.

    tldr: Marine Biologist says "eat tuna, but be aware of where it comes from".

    My favorite tuna salad? A little Mayo, a little dill pickle relish, black pepper and celery salt. I also like it sashimi style, but I prefer the texture and flavor of salmon.


    edit: You might want to try the tuna in a foil pouch. It's a little more expensive, but I really like it. The flavor is very nice, and it seems fresher than the can.
    The issue with the harvestability is that you're talking about albacore tuna, whereas canned chunk-light tuna is generally made from skipjack tuna. You're right about the farm thing, however, skipjack is one of the most sustainably-harvested fish out there, in practically zero danger from overfishing.

    Furthermore, while the FDA recommendations for canned chunk light tuna for pregnant women and young children say to keep it down to two servings per week, they group the canned chunk-light tuna with four other "low-mercury" fish, then go on to recommend alternatively up to one serving of albacore tuna per week. The issue is that albacore tuna contains about ten times the amount of mercury found in canned chunk-light tuna. So, you've got one recommendation saying about a fifth of the amount of the other recommendation is safe. Keep in mind that this is for pregnant women and young children, the groups most sensitive to mercury.

    So, if you can eat one serving of albacore per week, that's equivalent to about 1.3 cans of tuna per day. All tuna are not created equal.

    I had a lengthy half-conversation/half-debate with a friend who is a post-doctoral student studying marine toxicology (most specifically, mercury levels in the San Francisco Bay) about this a couple years ago.

    Thanatos on
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    xa52xa52 Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    The tuna in the pouch doesn't smell much at all, maybe because it contains less water than the can. I can open a pouch and make a sandwich and my cat usually won't come around looking for some. I like it with light mayo, celery and red onion on whole grain toast- looking at the label, the light mayo doesn't seem so bad, but I'm not on a diet. The brown rice idea posted above sounds pretty good too.

    If you're going to be mixing it with red sauce though, you might want to go with fresh fish, and something white rather than tuna. That's how my mom used to make it. It's pretty healthy, and between the milder taste of white fish and the stronger taste of the red sauce it might be pretty good for people who aren't crazy about fish. Kind of like this: http://www.recipezaar.com/Haddock-Pizzaiola-92390 You wind up with a whole piece of fish rather than sauce, but you have some pasta or bread on the side for carbs. It's good with some onions in the sauce too.

    Most kinds of (non-canned) fish are pretty good baked with some combination of butter/olive oil, lemon/lime, herbs, s+p, and possibly breadcrumbs or some chopped fruit and onion relish on top. It's healthier than frying, no/less smell in the house, and easier- the only thing you have to watch for is overcooking it.

    And vomiting from your eye sockets, jesus fucking christ.

    xa52 on
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