I recently attended a super tasty event for Starkist Tuna where Ted Allen himself shared some of his own recipes featuring Starkist's line of flavored tunas (aka StarKist Tuna Creations®). As host of Food Network's Chopped and the foodie guru of Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Ted Allen knows a thing or two about delicious food. I love tuna as a go-to lunch or dinner and have always enjoyed dressing it up with my own spices (red pepper is a favorite), but I hadn't considered it a dish for serving to guests because it seems too easy and I never really considered the different ways you could dress it up. After all, the trick to party food is for it to look like you went to a lot of trouble, when you didn't, right? Luckily, Ted Allen's tuna recipes fit right in with that objective.
I sampled the following three recipes at the event and they're all delicious and simple to prepare. Ted demonstrated the first two in just a few minutes.
Ted Allen’s Chunky Lemon Pepper Tuna Spread with crackers or cukes (I recommend cukes, even though I'm a carb fiend.)
Makes 15-20 canapés
2 pouches (4.5 oz) StarKist Tuna Creations®, Zesty Lemon Pepper
2 cups chopped flat leaf parsley, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 green olives (stuffed with pimentos)
1 and 1/2 tablespoons tiny (nonpareil) capers
Crackers, or sliced baguette
Put tuna, parsley, onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper flakes into the bowl of a food processor. Process to a paste, about 1 minute. Add olives and pulse a few times to incorporate. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the capers. To serve, spoon the mixture into a crock, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with crackers or cucumber rounds.
Ted Allen’s Pasta with Herb & Garlic Tuna and Tomato Vinaigrette
This one actually elicited ooh's and aah's. It tasted great too. Ted recommends using whatever tomatoes are in season, particularly cherry tomatoes that come in pint containers. He also gave a great tip for serving this or any pasta - warming your serving dishes! Turn your oven on to the lowest setting (I think it's around 180 degrees) and warm your serving dishes while you cook. This will prevent the pasta from cooling off too quickly (as pasta often does).
Serves 4 - This would make a FAB entree for a dinner party on a budget. Just serve with a a starter salad and a stellar dessert.
- 2 pouches (4.5 oz) StarKist Tuna Creations®, Herb & Garlic
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 medium shallot (or small red onion), sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon non-pareil capers (the tiny ones), drained
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound pasta, preferably farfalle (bow-tie), rotini, or penne
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
In a large pot, put your pasta water over high heat to boil. Wait until it boils, then salt generously.
Cut each tomato in half and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes while the salt pulls the juice out of the tomato. Add the shallot or onion, vinegar, capers, cumin, garlic, pepper, olive oil, and tuna. Set aside.
Three minutes before the pasta is done, put a sauté pan over medium-high heat, and add the tuna and vinaigrette. Simmer for two minutes. Drain the pasta, put it in large, preferably pre-warmed bowls, and spoon the tuna and dressing over. Serve immediately.
Ted Allen’s Hickory Smoked Tuna/Mango Chipotle Salmon Enchiladas
This particular recipe wasn't demonstrated at the event, but I tasted it. What a great, light alternative to fatty enchiladas! These were very flavorful.
- 3 pouches (4.5 oz/4.0 oz) StarKist Tuna Creations®, Hickory Smoked and/or StarKist Salmon Creations®, Mango Chipotle
- 1 large red onion, sliced thin
- Extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 large poblano pepper or bell pepper, preferably red or yellow (green is too strong), sliced thin
- 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 package fresh corn tortillas, about 7 inches in diameter
- 1 16-ounce can prepared salsa
- 1 and ½ cups cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
- Cilantro or parsley, chopped fine
- Sour cream
In a sauté pan over medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil and sauté the onion until soft, about five minutes. Add peppers, garlic, chili powder salt, and pepper, and sauté for another three minutes. Remove from heat and place in a large mixing bowl. Add beans and tuna and/or salmon and stir to combine.
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray, then spoon enough salsa to barely cover the bottom.
Heat a dry sauté pan over medium heat and warm the tortillas, one or two at a time, depending on the size of the pan (don’t skip this step; it softens the tortillas and prevents them from cracking when rolled). Spoon about ½ cup of filling on each tortilla, roll them into an enchilada shape, and place in the pan, seam down. Continue until pan is full; you should get about 15 enchiladas. Pour remaining salsa over the middle of the enchiladas, spreading it to cover most, but not all, of the tortillas. Top with cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve with cilantro or parsley and sour cream.