Monday, February 23, 2009

Diva Dinner Dates: Meet Ze Monster

Hope all my BDFF's had great weekends! For weeks, several of my friends have been clamoring to meet my puppy, the Adorable Monster. So I decided to host a dinner party on Saturday night so they could all Meet Ze Monster! My BDFF, Ariana M., Leanne C. and her hubby all gathered at my house for the feast! For the festivities, I decided to make a seafood paella. It's a flavorful, colorful dish that works best served family style, thus it's ideal for company. Going with the Spanish theme, I also prepared a yellowfin tuna and white bean salad served with crostinis as an appetizer. For dessert, I made some homemade macaroons that I served with organic blackberries for a healthy end to the meal. Kuzak provided some excellent wine pairings, including a grower champagne to start, followed by a Spanish Ribera del Duero and a Central Coast Syrah, and ending with a lovely Sauternes for dessert. So, dear divas, stay tuned and read on if you want to learn how to throw Diva Dinner Date! Mine turned out absolutely fabulous! Even the Adorable Monster thought so. In separate sections, I'll blog the appetizer, main course, dessert and the the wine flights, beginning at the beginning. Here we go!

For starters, and playing on the Spanish theme, I made a yellowfin tuna and white bean salad! This isn't your mother's tuna salad! If you've ever been to Spain, then you know they put canned tuna on just about everything. While I know we're all used to the unhealthy, drowned in mayo slopped onto bread tuna salad, this recipe should shed some light on the possibilities of incorporating more canned fish into your diet. It's cheaper than buying fresh, and easier than cooking! And did I mention that it's delish? The key is to buy a higher quality, most likely imported, tuna packed in olive oil. It will probably will come in a lovely tinfoil can where you peel the top back (see picture to the right). This keeps forever in your cupboard, and can be thrown together as quick, healthy appetizer, or as a fab lunch salad when you toss my recipe below with spinach or mixed greens. So expand your canned fish experience beyond Chicken of the Sea and give this a shot. I promise you won't regret it!

Domestic Diva's Yellowfin Tuna and White Bean Salad

1 package good quality canned tuna packed in olive oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot
finely chopped
1 tsp capers
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup canned white beans
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp tarragon chopped
salt and pepper

After your ingredients are prepped, toss shallots into a mixing bowl.

Open the tuna and drain the can of liquid, making sure to press some of it out of the fish. Then, crumble up the tuna and add it to the mixing bowl followed by the capers, white beans, tarragon, olive oil and lemon juice. Mix everything together, tossing it with a fork, and then season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, place the tuna in a bowl. Put the chopped cherry tomatoes on top. Sprinkle them with some salt and pepper.

Serve with crostinis, crackers or toasted baguette.

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