Lately my dad has been into making old school classics for dinner. Dishes that he used to make thirty years ago that were delicious then and still are today. It's important to make these comforting dishes every once in a while because they bring a sense of nostalgia to the meal and so that the recipes and flavors are not lost forever. I enjoy making my father's old recipes from 1977 and updating them to suite the needs of 2007. Tuna casserole is a dish my grandma used to make when he was a kid and is wonderful now when made with fresh mushrooms and higher quality tuna steaks. To make this old fashioned favorite,
1/2 loaf day-old crusty bread or 2 crusty day-old rolls
1 to 1 1/4 pounds tuna steaks, 1-inch thick -- 2 big steaks
1 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 large shallots, chopped
16 small button mushrooms, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme or poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 cup baby frozen peas
1 pound extra-wide egg noodles, cooked to al dente or 12 ounces, 1 box, egg fettuccini
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, to garnish
- Place bread in warm oven, 250 degrees F, to dry and toast, 20 minutes.
- Place tuna in a skillet and add wine, then water -- just enough to cover fish. Add bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring liquids to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover skillet. Poach fish for 12 minutes.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and 2 tablespoons butter--reserve remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add shallots and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute gently for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle in ground thyme or poultry seasoning and flour and cook flour 1 minute, stirring with whisk.
- Whisk in stock, then cream. Adjust seasonings. Add peas.
- Remove cooked, poached tuna to a bowl and flake fish with a fork.
- Add cooked noodles and tuna to sauce. Remove sauce from heat and transfer mixture to a casserole or serving dish.
- Use the widest cutting edge on a box grater to grate the bread into large crumbs. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small cup in microwave and pour melted butter over bread.
- Scatter buttery bread crumbs and parsley over the top of the casserole. Serve immediately.