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Latin flavors spice up tuna

I know what you’re thinking. Canned tuna isn’t the coolest or trendiest ingredient around. You might even say it’s boring. But go to your pantry — I’ll wait — I bet you have a can or two hanging out, waiting to be appreciated. Your can of tuna asked me to tell you it’s time to spice up your relationship. You need to create something other than sandwiches together. And lastly, to tell you that tuna isn’t boring, it’s you that’s boring. Ouch. Sorry to break the news to you.

If you’d like to fix your relationship, tell tuna you love that it’s incredibly versatile, not to mention packed full of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Praise its high-quality protein, selenium and Vitamin D content.

However, every relationship has its boundaries. Not all tuna is created equal. There is a huge range in product quality available at the market. Between sustainability, nutrition and health, there’s a lot to consider before committing to the relationship and stocking up on tuna.

It can be difficult at first glance to determine which tuna brands are doing their part in responsible fishing and environmental practices because language on labels and company websites can be misleading. Take a moment to do a quick online search to find which brands are observing sustainability, as well as ethical and fair-trade practices.

Resources like the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch site or Greenpeace’s canned tuna report are great places to start making more informed choices with canned fish. Spoiler alert: Just because a brand is popular doesn’t make it responsible. Please make the best choice you can, when choosing your can.

Now, would you like a recipe that will make your tuna zesty, dare I even say, sexy? Well, here you go.

I have a deliciously easy, no-cook recipe, perfect for a warm summer evening: an avocado tuna stack.

We’re dressing up ordinary canned tuna into a zesty, flavorful plate with a Latin flair by adding pico de gallo and avocado in colorful layers. It’s almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

This composed salad is a perfect light lunch or dinner, or a gorgeous appetizer for your next party. Serve with tortilla chips for extra crunch. I used the tuna can to shape the salad, but you could use food molds or a biscuit cutter. Alternatively, you could simply layer in small glass bowls.

However you decide to nurture your relationship with canned tuna, I wish you both all the happiness in the tunaverse. Sorry.

AVOCADO TUNA STACK

Yield: 2 servings

Time: 10 minutes

What you’ll need:

1 5- to 7-ounce can albacore tuna in water, drained

1½ tablespoons mayonnaise

¼ cup celery, minced

1 tablespoon green onion, minced

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced

2½ tablespoons lime juice, divided

1 large, or 2 medium avocados

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ cup pico de gallo, homemade or purchased

Tortilla chips

Here’s how:

Prepare the pico de gallo if not using purchased, recipe below.

Drain the tuna, reserving the can to use as a mold for the salad, if desired. In a bowl, mix tuna, mayonnaise, celery, green onion, cilantro and 1½ tablespoons lime juice. Add a pinch of salt and stir it all together.

Peel and dice the avocado and place in a bowl with the remaining tablespoon lime juice; add a pinch of salt and stir.

If using the can as a mold, rinse and dry the can and spray with cooking spray. Line the inside of the can with plastic wrap and spray that, too. Place half of the tuna in the bottom of the can and gently press down. Next, layer with half of the avocado. Place your serving plate over the can and flip them both over. Carefully remove the can and plastic wrap. Top it with a mound of pico de gallo. Repeat for second serving.

Serve with tortilla chips.

If the Latin flair doesn’t light your fire, replace cilantro with parsley and substitute fresh ripe tomato for the pico de gallo.

Pico de gallo is an uncooked salsa made by combining 3 Roma tomatoes diced, ¼ white onion diced, 1/3 cup cilantro diced, 1 small jalapeno pepper cored, deseeded and finely minced and 1 lime juiced and zested. After combining everything in a bowl, refrigerate it to allow flavors to combine.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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