Seven consecutive 12-hour night shifts. Gastroenteritis. Swine flu. What a fortnight!
With that hellish experience behind me I was understandably keen to seek out a little comfort, so a bowl of tuna mornay was in order. Now I know that I've been writing a lot about comfort food and childhood memories lately, but there's no way I can neglect to mention it here. This recipe is almost unchanged from my Mum's recipe, and eating it takes me right back to being a kid. Mum always serves it with white rice, and double-starch be damned, it's the only way to eat it. It's pretty retro, but undeniably awesome (like the bass solo from "Call Me Al").
The difference between the best and worst quality canned tuna is vast, so be sure to use something decent. Fresh corn is great if you've got it, but canned corn will do.
- 425g can of tuna in oil, drained
- 150g dried macaroni
- 1/4 cup of corn kernels
- 1/4 cup of bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup of grated cheddar
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 500 ml milk
- Juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt & black pepper, to taste
1. Cook the macaroni to al dente, and preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
2. Melt the butter with the flour and bay leaf over a medium heat, and cook stirring for 3 minutes. Start adding the milk gradually — add a little at a time and stir or whisk well until it is taken up, then continue until the milk as finished. Add the lemon juice, then bring to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes. The béchamel should have the consistency of pouring cream — if not add a little more milk.
4. To the béchamel add the drained tuna, the cooked macaroni, the corn kernels, and 1/2 a cup of the cheese. Stir to combine, and season with salt and black pepper.
5. Pour everything into a casserole dish. Mix together the bread crumb with the remaining cheese and some black pepper, and sprinkle this over the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top.