How often have you tried to pull a decent meal together from whatever’s leftover in your fridge? Sometimes we make it work because A. We’re hungry B. There’s a weird sense of pride that comes with skipping delivery and getting dinner done for, oh $0. More cash left for gas/dates/pay-per-view.
The fact is, just because your stash of groceries is pitifully low doesn’t mean that you have to subsist on PB&J, leftover white rice and/or a flavorless orange chilling the the back of your fridge. You can still create an incredible, healthy—and even guest-worthy—meals from items that you may already have lying around. It this case, we’re talking canned tuna, jarred olives and capers, onions, potatoes, olive oil and vinegar.
This recipe, a spin on Italian Tuna Salad created by Fornelletto’s executive chef Stephen Kalt, requires a few things that you might have to pick up fresh (tomatoes, green beans and endive) but if you’re really feeling creative, substitute in whever you’ve got lying around. Far be it from us to rob you of the joy of “making it work” with the best your fridge and pantry have to offer.
- 1 can solid white tuna in olive oil or water
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- 4 endive spears
- small handful of green beans
- 2 small red bliss potatoes or other similar potato
- 2 Tbsp. small black olives, such as Nicoise, taggiascha, or calamata
- 1 boiled egg, peeled and quartered
- 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced
- 3 oz. virgin olive oil (or pure)
- 2 oz. sherry, red wine, or other vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. capers, optional
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- fresh pepper to taste
Cook the green beans in salted boiling water for 5 minutes and remove from the water with a slotted spoon. Cool them by holding them under cool running water (this is known as “blanching”). Cook the potatoes in the same water for 20 minutes or until tender, but not falling apart. Rinse with cold water and cut into quarters. Open the can of tune and drain. Place the tuna in a large mixing bowl and separate with a fork. Add the potatoes to the bowl. Cut the endive spears in 8 pieces (each the long way) and place in the bowl. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the bowl. Add the olives, green beans and egg quarters to the bowl. Add some of the sliced onion to the bowl to taste. Add oil and vinegar, salt and pepper and toss gently. Serve two equal portions on a plate or in a large bowl.
Stephen Kalt is the executive chef at Fornelletto at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ. In 2004, he was tapped to be Executive Chef of Wynn Las Vegas restaurant, Corsa Cucina where he received acclaim for his Mediterranean-inflected modern Italian menu. Prior to opening his celebrated restaurant at Wynn, he garnered national recognition as the co-creator and chef of the celebrated Mediterranean restaurant Spartina in New York City. During its reign, Spartina was named “Top 5 Neighborhood Restaurants in New York” by Food & Wine magazine and earned two stars from the New York Times.
Check out more recipes from Chef Stephen: