Food for a happy heart

February is the British Heart Foundation Heart Month

Research suggests that there is a link between psoriasis and certain heart conditions, so this month I decided to cook up a recipe for the heart as well as the skin. As I started to look into this, I found that much of what keeps our skin healthy is just as good for our heart. Now, I could have been lazy and just said “see last month’s recipe”. Instead, I had a look at the British Heart Foundation’s website and found a healthy eating and drinking download that proved to be extremely useful.

There is a lot of information around healthy eating available on the internet, so for me it’s important that it comes from a reliable source, like the British Heart Foundation

Landing on the website also led to one of those moments where I saw a meal jump out at me as I read. Browsing through the list of foods I saw fish, tomatoes, eggs and salad which instantly made me think of tuna nicoise. Tuna is one of my favourite fish, which always leads me to feel puzzled as to why I don’t eat more of it! 


Tuna nicoise is a very simple salad and there are lots of variations out there if you want to find one that suits you. This is how I made it. 

Ingredients for two people: 
  • 2 fresh tuna steaks, quite thick (you can use tinned if you prefer) 
  • 1 mini gem lettuce 
  • 6 cherry tomatoes (or replace with any tomato you prefer) 
  • 1 tin of anchovies 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 10 small new potatoes (I used Anya potatoes but any baby potato will do) 

For the dressing: 
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar 
  • Freshly chopped basil, chives and parsley 

Method

First, make the dressing. Chop the fresh herbs and mix into the oil and vinegar, add a little salt and pepper to season. Make this early and leave to stand so the herbs can infuse into the oil. 
Herb dressing

Next, boil the potatoes for about 10-15 minutes so they are still firm and allow to cool. Boil the eggs for 5-6 minutes (less if you like them softer) and run under cold water to stop them cooking. Remove the shell and quarter the eggs. While these are cooking you can quickly cut the mini gem lettuce into 8 and rinse. Quarter the tomatoes and put a few anchovy fillets on some kitchen roll to soak up some of the oil. 


Now heat a pan, get it hot and coat the tuna in oil and a little seasoning. Fry the tuna for about two minutes on each side. I like my tuna quite rare in the middle so increase the cooking time to suit your taste. Try not to over season the tuna, as too much salt isn’t good for you and you can always use a low salt replacement. Once the tuna is cooked put it aside to rest. 
Cooked tuna

While the tuna rests, you can start plating up. Place the lettuce in a bowl and top with the tomatoes, eggs and new potatoes. Cut the tuna fillets in half and lay over the salad, along with the anchovies. Spoon the dressing over the salad and enjoy! 


You could go really classic and add fine green beans and black olives. I’m not a huge fan of olives unless they’re cooked into something. The green beans…. well, they’re in the fridge as I forgot to add them! For me, this isn’t just food for a happy heart – it keeps my soul happy too. Enjoy!
  

UK/IE 2013b/00058i; Date of preparation: December 2015

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