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why drain tuna packed in olive oil, if the recipe calls for olive oil anyway?

I can cite at least one or two recipes that call for tuna packed in olive oil, drained. Then elsewhere the same recipe calls for extra-virgin olive oil as an ingredient in the dish. What's the point? Why not NOT drain the tuna and just reduce the amount of oil in the other part of the recipe? What am I missing?

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  1. the oil the tuna was packed in will have a lot of tuna taste, and may be very low quality oil. If neither of these concern you, go for it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: magiesmom

      I completely agree - and I actually prefer the more intense tuna flavour I get from using the tuna oil. I used to bring salads to work with a tin of tuna in oil and a wedge of lemon - toss the whole thing together and you've got a simple vinaigrette!

      1. re: magiesmom

        One reason I like to get the higher-end Spanish and Italian canned tuna is that the oil is good. I've made the mayonnaise dressing for vitello tonnato with oil from the tuna can + more fresh as needed, because I like my tonnato sauce to be nice and fishy. I also do what emeats does with tuna in my lunch salad, and with sardines as well, though strictly at home; even just eating sardines in a lunchroom, back when I was working where there was one, tended to drive people out of the room, so I gave it up.

      2. Thanks for the replies. That's kind of what I figured. Next time, I think I will probably try using the tuna oil and see how it comes out.

        1. even the oil used in high-quality jarred tuna is usually a lower-quality non-virgin oil that's been refined and rendered completely odorless and flavorless. after sitting in there with the tuna it's usually pretty fishy, and it possesses none of the aroma or flavor characteristics you'll get from extra-virgin olive oil.

          that's not to say you *can't* use it in the recipe, it's just why many recipes call for you to replace it with a fresh, extra-virgin product when assembling/preparing the dish.

          2 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Hhhmmm. Maybe I'll use some if not all of the tuna-packed oil. At a minimum, I won't work so hard to rid the tuna of absolutely all of its oil.

            1. re: uwsgrazer

              oh, there's no need to get rid of all of it. WHy not taste it and see what you think.

          2. Because your cat will be very, very angry!

            1 Reply
            1. re: visciole

              gotta be careful feeding it to the cat - in some of them, even small amounts of the oil can produce the same effect that humans experience after consuming castor oil or escolar...

              1. re: darrentran87

                I always use the olive oil that anchovies are packed in. Usually on salad.

                1. re: zzDan

                  What a good idea! i am very fond of anchovies. Why has it never occurred to me to use the oil they're packed in!

                  1. re: Cliocooks

                    The only slight drawback is the anchovy oil is salty. But it all works for me :)

              2. One reason is that the oil used to pack tuna is not necessary extra-virgin olive oil. Even if it was high quality extra-virgin olive oil, oil degrades over time (even it is sealed in can). On the other hand, I don't if it really matters this much. That will be personal, and you will decide.