BODYWISE RECIPE: A fresh take on tuna salad

Aug 2 2010 - 4:56pm

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(TAMMY LJUNGBLAD/Kansas City Star) Nicoise Salad
(TAMMY LJUNGBLAD/Kansas City Star) Nicoise Salad

American tuna salad typically means from a can, with mayo and served on bread.

The phrase "a la nicoise" (pronounced nee-SWAHZ) means the dish is prepared as it would be in the French Riviera city of Nice. Key culinary ingredients of the region include tomatoes, black olives, garlic and anchovies.

This Nicoise Salad omits the anchovy but adds fresh tuna steaks, green beans, onions, hard-cooked eggs and herbs for a delicious yet healthful summer salad. Tuna is high in omega-3 and contains less saturated fat than beef steak.

Tuna is found in most of the world's oceans, but is not always caught in a sustainable manner. Look for tuna that is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (www.msc.org).

If tuna steaks are not in your budget, we also tested this recipe with salmon. Or, if desired, you could substitute two 5-ounce cans water-packed white albacore tuna, drained, for grilled tuna.

You may wish to buy a small number of olives from the salad or olive bar at your supermarket instead of a jar.

Cooking tip: Tuna should be cooked rare; overcooking will make the meat dry.

Nicoise Salad

1/3 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 medium shallot, cut into small pieces

1 clove garlic, halved

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

8 ounces small red potatoes, about 7 to 8 potatoes

10 ounces green beans, trimmed

3/4 pound fresh tuna steaks

Boston or butter lettuce

1 small red onion, sliced thin

2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch wedges

1 hard cooked egg, cut into 6 wedges

2 tablespoons nicoise olives, pitted

Place lemon juice, vinegar, shallot, garlic, thyme, capers, mustard, salt and pepper and olive oil in food processor. Process until smooth; cover and refrigerate.

Place potatoes in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; cut potatoes in half. Set aside.

Cook green beans in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and spray with nonstick spray. Preheat grill to medium-high direct heat or allow coals to burn down to white ash (or heat a grill skillet over medium-high heat). Grill tuna 4 minutes on each side or until fish is done and flakes with a fork. Remove fish from grill and break into large chunks.

Place greens on large serving platter. Arrange fish, potatoes, beans, onion, tomatoes, egg and olives on platter. Drizzle with dressing. Serves 4.

Per serving: 340 calories (42 percent from fat), 17 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 90 milligrams cholesterol, 26 grams carbohydrates, 25 grams protein, 149 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.

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