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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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F&W Pantry

Beyond Tuna Salad: Brilliant Upgrades for Canned Fish

Tuna Salad with Chickpea Puree

Tuna Salad with Chickpea Puree; © Johnny Miller

In F&W's April Handbook feature, I tackle one of the healthiest and most common ingredients around—canned fish. For the magazine, I mixed canned tuna with hummus to create a light yet satisfying salad that couldn’t be any simpler to put together. To further transform canned tuna, it can be whipped into a fantastic tonnato sauce.

Combine the tuna and the oil it’s packed in (if it’s in water, drain first), lemon juice, capers, anchovy fillets, olive oil and a touch of mayo (or plain yogurt) in a blender and puree until smooth. Traditionally served on cold sliced veal (vitello tonnato), the sauce is great as a crudité dip, salad dressing on escarole or arugula, or drizzled on grilled chicken breast. Use it as a sandwich spread for turkey sandwiches or as the base for potato salad.

Sardines are particularly rich in omega-3s and minerals like calcium and potassium. Roasted or broiled with lemon and fresh herbs, they’re delicious to top rice or grains. I like stuffing them straight from the container into sandwiches with Dijon mustard, sliced radishes and watercress. Side note: I’ve been known to travel with these fish when camping…nothing beats an open tin of sardines bubbling over a fire.

As grilling season approaches, canned octopus becomes an unexpected pantry essential. Charred, the tentacles take on a fantastic texture and slightly smokey flavor. Toss pieces of the grilled octopus in a simple shallot vinaigrette with some chopped parsley for a fun starter, or use it as a crostini topper. For a full-on seafood salad, add some canned smoked oysters and mussels. And since the grill is already on, make some salmon burgers: simply drain the canned salmon and mix it with eggs, chopped scallions and breadcrumbs to bind the mixture together.

Related: Recipes for Canned Beans
F&W Pantry: 15 Ways to Use Almond Milk

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.