Looking for a little novelty during Lockdown, I chanced upon an intriguing blog post about flaming tuna. It’s a simple enough idea – you set light to a tin of tuna (or, one supposes, anything else) in oil. The idea is to transform said tuna from meh to a smoky delight. (If you’re really in trouble then you can use the same principle to create an impromptu oil lamp, although it won’t burn for hours.)

It’s really a recipe for our times, as it involves two things every house in the UK should have by now – a tin of tuna and 4 sheets of toilet roll. The toilet roll acts as a wick, burning off the oil and leaving you with warm, smoky tuna. That’s the theory, anyway, so we had to give it a go!

Flaming tuna

We opened our can in the kitchen and set it up with the sheets of kitchen paper indoors. They need to be in contact with the oil but don’t press down too much as the oil comes out of the can and makes a mess. As this involves setting fire to something – safety first! We took the can outside and popped it on our little bucket barbecue before we lit it.

It does produce some smoke (another reason to do this outdoors!), but not enough to bother the neighbours.

Ryan felt the need to trim down the kitchen roll to be a better fit in the can, but that’s probably not really necessary.

Tuna al fuego

And then you wait. Preferably with something on hand to put out the fire if it gets out of hand. Not a bucket of water. It’s an oil fire. Sand. Or a damp tea towel. Or anything that will smother the flames but not spread the oil.

Tuna al fuego

How long? Depends a bit on how much oil there is in your tin, but about half an hour. The flames will just suddenly go out as they run out of fuel.

Burnt kitchen roll

Using a fork or some tongs, you can then gently lift off the charred paper to reveal the smoked tuna. It’s likely to be a bit crispy on the top, and the smoky flavour permeates the whole can. Remember that can will be hot!

And then it’s just a case of eating your new tuna delicacy. We served ours with flatbreads, but I’m thinking this is a genius way to get some smoky flavour into any recipe involving tuna!

This isn’t a new idea, by any stretch of the imagination. Have you tried it?