Tomato Sauce with Tuna and Capers

Tomato Sauce with Tuna and Capers

I know you guys are probably getting tired of all this ‘resourceful in the kitchen’ nonsense.   You’re probably asking yourself, “Man, does this chick ever have food in her kitchen?”

onion skin

Well, I do buy groceries, I promise, but without fail by the end of the week I’m scrounging.   Oddly enough the meals I don’t plan to make often turn out the most blog worthy (go figure).  But, I do have a personal mission to be as resourceful in the kitchen as possible.  I want to be able to make something amazing out of a ridiculous hodgepodge of ingredients like it ‘aint no thang!  What it really comes down to is I hate waste, I love creativity and can’t abide bad food.  Simple really.

Last night, I almost didn’t pull it off.  I was feeling creatively drained and since the beau’s birthday is tomorrow I knew I had a lot of cooking and baking ahead of me (not that that’s a hardship), so I was considering conserving my energy by ordering a pizza.  But then I thought of dear Audrey in Sabrina, and I managed pulled this little number together.

Tuna, zucchini, capers, lemon

Have you ever seen the movie Sabrina, the original with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart?  Well do remember the part where Sabrina somehow makes dinner for Linus out of maraschino cherries, stale crackers, tomato juice, puffed rice and sardines?  Of course we never see the finished product, but I spent a large portion of my adolescence trying to figure what she could’ve concocted and I still have nothing.  Anyway, for some reason that part of the movie stuck with me (clearly I was born to be a food nerd) and out of that simple scene my life long ambition to make something out of nothing took root.

zucchini

So here is my riff on Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce with butter and onion that has been floating around the blogisphere for sometime now.  I of course ignored the simplistic beauty of the recipe by adding a bunch of other stuff (I always take things a step too far), but I was quite pleased with the results.  My beau said it was his new favorite pasta sauce.  I nodded and smiled stoically, while I did back flips of joy in my head!  My love is a man of few words, so when I get a compliment I know he means it!

lemon, capers

In the recipe they suggest you discard the onion, but why waste something so delicious.  I served it atop the pasta, but I think placing it on garlic bread would be unbelievable as well.  So many options, so little stomach space.

Onion

So, so yummy and relatively summer friendly!

Tomato Sauce with Tuna and Capers: Serves 4-6

Loosely adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan via Steamy Kitchen

1 can crushed tomatoes

5 tbsp salted butter

1 medium sized onion, peeled and halved

1 can flaked tuna, drained

2 tbsp capers, drained

1 zucchini, shredded

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

Zest of half a lemon

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Splash of balsamic vinegar

Garnish:

Splash of balsamic

Fresh parsley

Fresh ground pepper

Directions:

Place tomatoes, butter and onion in a heavy bottom pot over medium high heat.

Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low and cook for 35 minutes.

Place shredded zucchini in a small bowl and toss with salt (the salt will extract moisture). Set aside for ten minutes.

Transfer the zucchini to cheesecloth and squeeze out excess moisture.  Set Aside.

When the 35 minutes is up check the sauce. Remove onion.

Add sugar and balsamic and stir to combine.

Stir in tuna, zucchini, capers and lemon zest and cook for an additional ten minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Serve over cooked pasta of your choice (I used bucatini) and top with onion.

Serve with fresh parsley, ground pepper and a drizzle of balsamic.

Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad

I am back! Hope you guys had wonderful holidays!

Meanwhile after getting a good rest, I left my zone of comfort….

…and look at me! I fried something!

Mango

I never fry anything! I have a deep-frying phobia.

Cucumber

I, like the rest of humanity, happen to love fried food! Anything deep-fried is positively out of this world. I bet if you deep-fried a boot it would taste delicious, but as much as I love these crispy edibles I’m still wary of deep-frying at home. I’m sure it would be a different story if I had a proper deep fryer, but if I had said deep fryer I would also be 300 pounds. So, I figure it’s in my best interest to make deep fat frying as cumbersome as possible. I didn’t even do a legit deep fry for this week’s recipe. It was more of a shallow fry; I couldn’t quite bring myself to add the full amount of oil, guilt was holding me back. This time, I simply borrowed a deep fryer from my friend, it was Waring deep fryer.

No. No way I am buying one myself.

Red pepper

Yes, it was messy and yes, I did fear my kitchen afterwards, but these almond crusted fried shrimp were well worth the grease burns.  I served them atop a mound of spicy mango salad and garnished the whole lot with fresh cilantro and dry-roasted peanuts. The combination of the piping hot shrimp and chilled salad was out of this world. The shrimp was beautifully juicy and it’s breading brought a subtle crunch to the dish.

Red Onion

My beau was adequately impressed with my efforts. He could hardly believe I fried anything. I’m usually a stickler when it comes to nutrition, but I justified the whole exercise by saying it was for the blog. Do you hear that? If your at all interested in the state of your waistline don’t start a food blog, it messes with your logic.

Almond Crusted Shrimp

As deep-frying adventures go this one was fairly uneventful. Shrimp cooks quickly and the breading process with simple and efficient. Salads are always low maintenance, but I will warn you there is a fair amount of chopping involved.

Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad (II)

Decadently rich and restaurant caliber, Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad is one recipe you’ll be happy to have sitting in your back pocket when all you can think about is expensive takeout. This recipe will subdue those pesky cravings and save you a bundle at the same time.

Almond Crusted Shrimp and Mango Salad: Serves 4

FOR THE SHRIMP

16 shrimp, deveined and shelled with tails on

¼ cup almond meal

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp milk

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups peanut oil

FOR THE SALAD

1 mango, julienned

¼ cucumber, julienned

½ red bell pepper, julienned

¼ red onion, sliced

¼ dry roasted peanuts

½ cup fresh cilantro, torn

DRESSING

4 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp granulated sugar

¼ cup lime juice

1 tsp sambal oelek

1 tbsp fish sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Place veggies, mango and cilantro in a large bowl and toss to combine.

In a small bowl whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.

In another small bowl combine ground almonds and salt and pepper.

Combine egg and milk.

One by one douse each shrimp in the egg and milk mixture then roll them in the almond mixture and set aside on a plate.

When each shrimp has been coated heat oil in a large wok until it reaches about 350°

Drop shrimp into the oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown.

Remove from oil and leave to drain on paper towels.

Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.

Divide salad amongst four plates and top with peanuts.

Arrange four shrimp on top of each salad and serve immediately.