Tuna Casserole 2.0

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Tuna Casserole 2.0For years now, my beautiful wife Jessica has claimed to hate hot tuna. Naturally, I’ve been known to poke fun at this. When developing this book, we knew that tuna casserole not only had to be subject to the spotlight, but take on a new, modern incarnation. But, I vowed to keep it hot and win her over to the dark side! Flash forward to today, just now, outside on the sidewalk. A very good friend told me that he and his kin also hate hot tuna. What? This is a thing? Here I thought this recipe was meant to sway merely one dubious soul. Now, I am convinced that the world needs this recipe. Long live hot tuna.

  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes


  • qt water
  • 1 large head cauliflower, florets
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1½ cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 5-oz cans tuna in water, drained, flaked
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup Japanese panko or other bread crumbs
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil over high heat. Boil the cauliflower florets for 3–4 minutes. Drain and remove the florets to a plate to cool a while you prepare the remainder of the ingredients.
  3. Place a skillet over medium heat and add butter. When the butter melts, sprinkle in the flour and whisk to combine completely. Continue to whisk the mixture for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while continuing to whisk briskly, to ensure the sauce is smooth with no lumps. Stir in salt, pepper. and paprika. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes. Remove the mixture to a large mixing bowl, stir in the cheese, and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Once the milk and cheese mixture has cooled, stir in the mayonnaise and egg. Mix thoroughly. Fold in the cauliflower, celery, and tuna. Coat the bottom and sides of a baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Pour the contents of the mixing bowl into the baking dish.
  5. In a second mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. As evenly as possible, coat the top of the cauliflower mixture with the bread crumb mixture. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for 40–45 minutes or until the top is golden and crusty.
  6. Serve hot scoops directly to hungry bowls.

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