It’s hard to put what I love about Tuna Newberg — an absolute favorite dinner of mine since before I could talk — into words that sound immediately and universally appealing. It’s my family’s ultimate go-to comfort food. It’s that one dish we all request when we’re home. My siblings and I have a running joke that it's so good that if any of us were ever to appear on Food Network's show Chopped, we’d forgo the basket ingredients to make Tuna Newberg, and win with it every round. So what is Tuna Newberg, exactly? It’s a thick, creamy tuna sauce served warm, over rice. For a while, my best guess as to where Tuna Newberg came from was that my grandma — a successful malpractice attorney who went to law school after having three kids and therefore very little time to cook — found the recipe on the back of a jar of mayo or a can of tuna. For years, I tried to track down the original recipe with zero luck. Finally, my mom suggested I reach out to an old family friend, a woman named Irene, who used to help my grandma around the house. Not only did Irene remember it immediately, it turns out that it’s an original recipe that my grandma came up with. Unfortunately, I can't confirm the validity of that claim with my grandma, but what I can do is continue passing the recipe on to future generations. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Time: 20 minutes
1/2 or 1 whole sweet onion, medium dice
2 T oil
15 to 17 oz canned tuna, drained
3 c milk
1 c mayo
3 T flour
Oregano, paprika, salt & pepper, to taste
Rice (for serving)
Cook onion in oil over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add tuna to skillet with onions and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, breaking up larger chunks of tuna.
In a 4+ c liquid measuring cup combine milk, mayo, flour, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Whisk to combine. Add oregano and paprika and whisk again until smooth and no visible lumps of flour or mayo remain.
Return skillet to medium heat and pour in the milk mixture. Bring to a low bubbling simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent tuna from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Reduce heat to low and continue simmering, covered, for 10 minutes, and then uncovered 10 to 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
Serve over rice with additional oregano on top.
Rebecca Eisenberg is the blogger behind ThePracticalKitchen.com, where she shares practical recipes that make spending time in the kitchen a joy instead of a chore.