What image does the words Tuna Provencale evoke for you? 

For me, it is the freshest of fish, caught that day, eaten al fresco, with some lovely fresh, vegetables, tomatoes, black olives, basil, in a salad doused liberally with olive oil and garlic. Preferably with a glass of ice cold, rosé to wash it down. 

Maybe something a little like this!

Tuna Provencale2This is a little dish of my own invention and is delicious.  I cooked the tuna for a minute on each side but to me, this was overcooked.  The following day I made a Japanese style tuna takaki salad and they suggested to cook each side for only 20 seconds and it was perfect!  So this is my modern-day version of Tuna Provencale – lightly cooked tuna, salad, and a little big dob of aioli on the side!  Sadly though, this is not the Tuna Provencale The A-Z of Cooking thinks you should be eating.

How about this then?  Fresh Tuna Steaks baked in the oven with those same veg?  Not a hint of rawness because this is baked for a good 20 min.  For mind, it was pleasant – not to my mind as nice as the previous recipe but good in it’s own way, certainly a good one for anyone how does not like raw fish and the roasted veg were lovely. 

Tuna Provencale4 However, also not the Tuna Provencale that The A-Z of Cooking wants you to eat.  This comes from the Australian Gourmet Traveller Annual from 2006.

Let’s jump back nearly thirty years back to 1977 and see The A-Z of Cooking’s Tuna Provencale.

Tuna Provencale1Oh. 

I know. 

We’ll go there but first let’s look at another way in which The A-Z of Cooking is being a jerk this week.  Let’s take the introduction to Just For Two which is the chapter containing the Tuna Provencale. 

JUST FOR TWO: if there are only two of you, or if there is a special man you want to impress, here are some suggestions

Because only straight women and gay men read cookbooks right?

Regardless, lets take another look at that Tuna Provencale shall we?  Where’s the tuna you ask?  Ask  no more…hidden under that tomato sauce is this:

Tuna Provencale5Which is a drained can of tuna wrapped in two anchovies.  You may also note that there is only one can of tuna wrapped in anchovies. That is because one of the Fussiest Eater In The World’s many, many food foibles is that he won’t eat cooked canned tuna. So my just for two was just for one.  A state I can only assume most makers of the Tuna Provencale found themselves in after their dish failed to impress that “special man” back in the day.

So you might be wondering how this tasted?  Well…it was better than it looked. It was canned tuna with tomato sauce.  Which is something I used to make over pasta back in my student days.  OMG…that is exactly how this tasted – student food.  Student food or the worst tuna melt in the world – purely because it was missing the best bit of the tuna melt which is the melt. 

To prove this I heated up the leftovers the next day with a hefty coating of cheese  and voila:

Tuna Provencale6It still looked pretty awful but was much better than the original. 

On the whole though, I’m calling  fail on the Tuna Provencale.

For those that want it, here is the recipe from The A-Z of Cooking:Tuna Provencale7Have a great week! 

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