Italian Tuna (Tonno)

One summer we stripped and painted the outside of our 100+-year old Victorian brick cottage. We hired a college student helper and he and my schoolteacher husband spent every day for a month or more wrapping and then peeling the house (we didn’t want lead paint specks all over our yard for future babies to eat) to get rid of the paint. Then we rounded up as many family and friends as we could coerce for the actual painting. My days were spent high up on the scaffold with an itty-bitty paintbrush doing the detailed dentils around the roofline. What a project!

Many of my favorite memories of those days are around feeding everyone lunches as a thank you for coming to help us out. I had fun with it, offering everything from make-your-own-burrito bars and salted cucumber sticks fresh from our garden to zucchini-filled tamales and cold watermelon soup. One of the crew’s favorites was Italian-style tunafish, or tonno.

tonno sandwichEven my little sister, a picky high-schooler at the time who initially claimed she hated tunafish, discovered she loved it when made this way instead of with mayonaise.

Start with drained fancy white albacore tunafish packed in water. Mix it with a few Tbsp. of drained capers and chopped fresh basil. Drizzle with good quality olive oil while stirring to moisten the tuna. Add fresh cracked pepper, if desired.

Here I made a sandwich of Tonno on toasted halves of roasted garlic artesian bread with a roma tomato and baked kale chips (recipe to come soon!). I ended up loading the kale onto the sandwich along with some tomato — mmmmm…. heavenly.

Tonno wrapHere is how I ate the leftovers the next day for lunch: wrapped in a toasted whole wheat tortilla along with stemmed, seeded, and peeled roasted green chiles, butter lettuce and chopped tomatoes. On the side I munched on fresh sweet peas — newly in from the end-of-summer crop.

By the way, I toasted my tortilla by laying it directly on the gas burner over low, low heat. I flipped it after a few seconds. If you do this, keep a close eye on your wrap or you will get burnt spots!

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