Thursday, March 26, 2009

Caramelized Lemon Creamy Clam Sauce with Fresh Tuna and herbed egg noodles.

I bet that my freezer bags where not the first thing anyone thought of when they read the title of today's entry...

Those bags have been my focus for the main part of this week.

Here's another freezer meal to knock you socks off! If you love me for my bread, not my brains, come back next week. For the residuals of humanity who love me for my sweet, loving, soul nurturing homemade food...

I dare you to click on this first picture:
Wasn't that fun?! You can almost taste the love right now huh?! Caramelized Lemon Cream Clam Sauce with Fresh Tuna is a long way of saying, "goodbye forever regular tuna casserole." In my humble, yet accurate, opinion...most tuna casserole is just nasty. It is painstakingly difficult to imagine what the obsession is with some women and tuna casserole. They serve it at least once a week. It hardly gets touched, or if the family does eat it, they choke it down with a bunch of milk. My mom didn't make tuna casserole very often. I remember. When she did, she didn't use fresh tuna. It was always canned. For the most part, it was my grandma who make tuna casserole...and it was also at every church giant bubbly pans of slime and crumbs. Today's freezer meal will be different. I promise with all the vim and vigor in my sweet little left toe.

I start with fresh tuna. 8 oz steaks. 1 lemon, zested and cut in half. 1/4 cup sliced shallots. I put the tuna in a non-stick skillet along with the lemon, cut side down...after about 5 minutes I add the shallots.

In the meantime, I start a big pot of water boiling. If you use this recipe for freezer meals, omit this step until you are ready to serve. I freeze the sauce in quart size freezer bags...lay down flat so they maximize the space. Without the noodles, there is more space for toppers and thus more dinners are in my freezer. For my small family of 4, this recipe makes enough "pasta topping sauce" for 2 meals. Back to the noodles. I love egg noodles. What is is about these ribbons that provoke such feelings in me? I don't know, but putting some Penzey's Spices on them didn't hurt. Shallot pepper and tarragon plus some good fresh olive oil...about one tablespoon. Seasoning up pasta before putting sauce on it just adds an amazing level of flavor to a dish. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend it.

Back to the sauce. To the pan I add 1 tsp baking soda to neutralize the acid in the lemon juice that would make the white sauce curdle. Then ...

4 cups prepared white sauce (of your choice, I use homemade but I won't yell at anyone for using a premade Alfredo...sorry food snobs... I am also real and sometimes folks just don't have the real homemade stuff). Random thought...I make this mix I use in place of condensed soup that is quite fast and easy. I'll be blogging that in the near future.

So...4 cups white sauce, 1 can drained clams (15 ounce size). If by chance you happen to live by the ocean or have it in your budget to purchase real do that. It's much fresher. I had a can. Sue me.

Just before the lemon was about to drown in the sauce, I rescued it and put it to death in a very graphic if slicing it in half wasn't ruthless enough. Squeeze the juice and all into the for seeds. Incidentally, caramelizing the lemon like that adds a smoky depth to the dish, as well as allowing the lemon to give up more juice.

My hand looks so tender and merciful right there...but it was all a trick. Poor gullible lemon.

Remove the skin and bones from the tuna. Add 1/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper and 1/4 cup chopped pimentos (those are the red ones in a jar pickled).

See, that chicken...I mean tuna? Isn't that awesome how it's big and chunky like that?! Ahhh Yes!! I love it!

Now, three options present themselves:

1, serve half tonight and bag the other half in a quart size freezer bag labeled clearly. This will add one meal to you freezer.

2. Divide the sauce between 2 quart size freezer bags for 2 freezer meals. This step leaves you licking the pan out of sheer desperate need for a nibblet.
3. Sit down with that whole pan of sauce and drink it like a bad movie. I'm not responsible for juicy clams randomly rolling down your chin...or your dog sucking them off your face.

If feeling particularly artsy...pile some grapes and fresh thyme around the plates and garnish with lemon zest.

Incidentally, we don't normally eat like this. I did it for the picture and then put the rest on regular plates...right next to the plastic cups. Ahh feel that? It's the pressure to be perfect leaving your shoulders. Welcome to my world my friend. No pressure. No Martha Stewart here. However, that being said, I can put out a pretty breathtaking spread when given the opportunity. Regular life isn't always like that. Maybe it should be...

There you go.


J. P. said...

Did you seriously just make Tuna Casserole sound good? Really?

Chef Tess said...

Oh I'm glad you think so! I love this stuff!

Heffalump said...

As a child I refused to eat Tuna Casserole when my Mom made it.
As a grown-up I just refuse to make it at all.
Stop making me waiver in my resolve.

Chef Tess said...

Haaa! I was the same way about tuna casserole. It just seemed like a lot of slime and starch that was really fishy. I love it with the real fresh tuna it just doesn't taste all canned an funky. I think you should try it. It also works to use chicken and bacon instead of the fish...but it's not as low fat. Just a matter of taste really.