High summer here in Italy. When the temperature indoors goes above 30C, I cease to be interesting in cooking. When it’s a question of rustling up meals to feed the masses while spending minimal time over a hot stove – or even a coolish granite counter – I find it’s tinned tuna to the rescue.
I don’t much like tinned tuna heated up – it’s definitely an ingredient to be used in a salad, sandwich, or even a vitello tonnato. And this sandwich filling harks back to the 1970s, originally from a book called ‘Freeze Now, Dine Later’, though I always call it Jo’s Mum’s Tuna, Jo being my best friend since school days. It was called Oriental Tuna, and includes an unlikely mix of soy sauce and curry powder – I think these days cooks wouldn’t mix up cuisines with quite the same élan.
For every 200g tin of tuna, yellow fin for preference (apparently it’s about the only variety of tuna that’s not on the verge of extinction, never mind the dolphins-caught-in-nets headache) mash the fish, drained of oil or water, with the following:
2 heaped dessertspoons Hellman’s mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dark brown soy sauce
1 level teaspoon curry powder (I used Sharwood’s Medium)
1/2 spring onion, finely sliced (optional, depending on children’s tastes)
120g cucumber or 6 water chestnuts, diced (just for crunch)
If you’re opting for the cucumber dices – salt and leave them to drain of excess water for 30 minutes, then rinse them thoroughly and reduce the amount of soy sauce to 1 teaspoon.
Pile onto warm toast and top with chopped tomatoes. Goes excellently with a (large) glass of very chilled Peroni lager. Retire for a siesta afterwards.