Use the pantry staple to whip up a quick meal.

By Bridget Hallinan
April 28, 2020
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While your go-to use for canned tuna might be tuna salad or pasta, Food & Wine Culinary Director-at-Large Justin Chapple uses the pantry staple to make quick, simple tuna escabeche tostadas in this Mad Genius episode.

He calls it “one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make,” considering that it basically requires just three ingredients—excluding staples like oil and the garnishes, which you can also adapt based on what you have available. Read on for some of Justin’s key tips for making the dish, and find the recipe below.

Get the Recipe: Tuna Escabeche Tostadas

Choose the Right Tuna 

Justin prefers using tuna in oil—he recommends trying to buy whole, solid white tuna—but if you have tuna in water, that works too. Make sure you drain it for a few minutes first to get rid of excess liquid.

Use Canola Oil to Toast the Pepitas

Canola oil has a really high smoking point, Justin explains, and it doesn’t have a lot of flavor, either. The pepitas will puff up and get lightly golden brown when they're ready.

Just like in his demo for kale caesar with crispy chickpeas, Justin uses a wooden spoon to check if the canola oil is hot enough. Insert the end of the spoon directly into the oil—once small bubbles start to form around the edge, it’s ready.

Use Store-Bought Tostadas to Save Time

If you are frying your own tortillas, Justin recommends using corn, and not flour. However, you can also pick them up already fried to save time.

Save That Brining Liquid

Justin says one of his favorite ingredients is Mexican-style pickled jalapeños with vegetables. He combines 1/4 cup of them with the tuna, but also reserves some of the brine to mix in as well. (It basically acts as a vinaigrette.)

Add Your Own Garnishes

In addition to the toasted pepitas, Justin adds thinly sliced radishes and cilantro springs to his tostadas. Don’t have those? No problem. He says you can use whatever you have on hand.

Get the Recipe: Tuna Escabeche Tostadas