apparently we're not supposed to eat tuna these days. my friend's sister works for the EPA and has the inside scoop; she says the once-a-week rule is even too lax. knowing what she does about mercury, she stays the hell away from tuna and other fish pretty much all the time.
so if tuna can only be eaten once in a blue moon, you'll really want to pack a punch. no crappy tuna from a can slapped together with some mayo and chopped celery. last night i went out for dinner with my aunt and as part of my "fish: welcome back to my life!" program, i ordered my old fave tuna nicoise.
this salad is called "nicoise" because of the small french nicoise olives it must have. other necessary ingredients include tuna (obvi), haricots verts, potatoes, tomatoes and hard-boiled egg. other optional additions are capers and anchovies.
when i've made it for myself, i usually proceed as follows:
sushi-grade tuna steaks, salted and peppered and pan seared
green beans (or the nice thin haricots verts if you can find them) steamed or blanched
grape tomates (or big tomatoes, if they're in season. the ones last night were hard and flavorless)
boston or bibb lettuce, cleaned and dried
thinly sliced red onion
nicoise olives (if in a bind, use kalamata and you can call it "tuna kalamata")
small red potatoes, quartered and roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper (trad'l= simply boiled)
dressing: red wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon, minced shallot, anchovy paste optional
dress the lettuce, onion, beans and tomato
make a bed with it on the large dinner sized plate
quarter an egg and arrange on the plate
artfully place several potato quarters on the plate
slice the tuna and add last to the plate
finally you can sprinkle fresh basil ribbons and nicoise olives on top
healthy, delicious, and all your food groups (including mercury!) on one plate.