What time’s supper? ……or Composed Salad with Tuna

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Living in other countries has taught me that, while there in an underlying humanism that binds us all together, it's the little things that can be so befuddling, particularly to the novice traveler!

Something as simple as daily habits can leave people scratching there heads in bemusement, or, much worse, totally missing lunch or going to bed hungry because they don't know what time the locals eat.

Most of the people that I know in the U.S. think 11:30 is a reasonable time for lunch.  In Ireland that's time for 'elevenses': coffee and a sweet roll or biscuit.  In Spain it's 'second breakfast': usually a small ham sandwich and a wine or beer.  'First breakfast' is coffee and a bit of bread around 8:00.

If you try to eat lunch in France before 1:00 you'll have a bit of difficulty because most restaurants aren't open yet.  But don't wait until after 2:15, they're already closed. 

Lunch in Spain doesn't start until 2:00 in the northern parts, closer to 3:00 in the south.  And you might as well plan on a leisurely lunch because all of the shops, banks, businesses, etc. close for 2 or 3 or 4 hours.

After an 11:30 breakfast lunch Americans, or, at least, Midwesterners, are hungry by late afternoon and start thinking about dinner.   Early bird specials start at 4:30.  4:30!?!?!  I'm barely through with lunch!  In French farm country, where we live, dinner is about 7:00 (farmers are early risers, after all, usually up by 7:00 in the morning).  In the cities, 8:00 is a more usual dinner hour, running to 10:30 in summer with the long evenings.

Back in Spain, of course it's a wee bit later.  If you want to eat at a decent, non-tourist restaurant in Madrid don't plan on a reservation before 11:30 (yes, that IS in the evening) and even at that you'll be the first ones there.  The Madrileños will trickle in around 1:00, children in tow.

I have to confess here, we maintain our Spanish habits.  Breakfast around 8:30, a light lunch between 2:00 and 3:00 and dinner around 11:00.  When I visit my family in the U.S. they move dinner back one hour,to 6:30, in deference to me.  When they visit us, we move dinner forward 3 hours, to 8:00, in deference to them.  (Hmmm, seems like I do the most compromising, here…Oh well, I do try to be reasonable…)

Now I can hear all the 'But it's so unhealthy to go to bed on a full stomach!' 

My answers: First, one doesn't have to eat so damn much at dinner!  Second: all the other mammals sleep after eating, why shouldn't humans?  Do you think you know better than Mother Nature?  Huh?  DO YOU?

And explain please, why my 'full stomach' of a bit of protein, some vegetables and whole grains, washed down with a glass of wine is worse than a full stomach of sugar and fat from the big bowl of ice cream eaten whilst watching the evening news….in bed?

419819075_20c0cdcab1_o1Now to get to the Heart of the Matter, being hosted this month by Ilva, of Lucullian Delights.  The theme is Waterlife, anything animal, fish or vegetable that lives in the sea, ocean, lakes and rivers. 

Tuna is probably the most commonly eaten of any fish.  It has been eaten smoked or pickled since ancient times and is available everywhere canned.  World's Healthiest Foods site has an enormous list of health benefits  – so go read it.  A few tidbits:  It's very high in omega 3 essential fats which can help prevent fatal heart arrhythmia; can lower triglycerides and help prevent high blood pressure.  Americans get way too much omega 6 and need to increase their intake of omega 3 to counterbalance.  An imbalance between the two can promote inflammation. 

My second entry for this month can either be a first course (at 11.00pm), or, accompanied by some fresh fruit and maybe a bit of whole grain bread, a light lunch (at 11:00am).  I found canned Tuna Fillets in Lemon and Olive Oil for this salad, which were excellent.  Use the best tuna you can find.

Lettuce Salad with Tuna and AvocadoTunacomposed

1 6 oz can tuna (180gr)
1 small avocado
Lettuce for 2 small salads
2 oz feta (60gr)
Olives, Cherry Tomatoes for garnish
Hummus Vinaigrette

Prepare lettuce and put into medium bowl. Add half of the vinaigrette and toss lightly to combine.  Taste and adjust.  Arrange on 2 dinner plates.  Slice avocado and fan out next to lettuce.  Open and drain tuna and arrange next to lettuce.  Sprinkle with feta, olives and halved Cherry Tomatoes.  Drizzle with a bit more vinaigrette and serve.

Hummus Vinaigrette

2 tbs hummus
1/2 tbs sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbs olive oil, the good stuff
1 tsp oregano fresh
1 tsp snipped chives

In small bowl whisk hummus, vinegar, and mustard.  Slowly whisk in olive oil. When incorporated add herbs and whisk to combine.

To give credit where it's due, the idea for hummus in the vinaigrette came from Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen
It was lovely, thanks Kalyn!

When I told mon mari that I was putting hummus in the vinaigrette he thought of haggis….Even I wouldn't try THAT!  (Although, I actually like haggis…just not in a salad… Haggis Salad?)

Remember to stop by Lucullian Delights or Heart of the Matter for a recap of all of the heart healthy waterfood after the 22nd!

What time do you'all eat?

16 thoughts on “What time’s supper? ……or Composed Salad with Tuna”

  1. So glad you liked the hummus in the vinaigrette, and now I have to credit Amy Snider who wrote a cookbook called Fiber Boost. That’s where I got the idea. I met her and she gave me a cookbook, and the second I saw the recipe I knew I’d try it and love it. She’s Canadian and I don’t know if you can get the book outside of Canada, but it’s a great book.

  2. I don’t like canned tuna very much, but the hummus vinaigrette sounds wonderful. I’ve been eating so much salad lately, and it will be nice to try out a new dressing, and even more lovely that I can snip the oregano and chives from my garden.

  3. Very very interesting post! I kind of graze throughout the day, so I guess I would manage somehow no matter where I was….

  4. Kalyn, Thanks for the book tip – I’ll stick it on my Amazon Wish List 😉
    Ah, Muse, yes, ’tis the season for salads… at least in this hemisphere. We eat tons…I always plant too much!
    Jenn, grazing is good! So is jet lag…. people get confused and are easily led to new things…LOL

  5. Katie, it was so interesting when you compared the differences in eating habits. I have problems just choosing a suitable time when I meet certain friends for dinner because some prefer to eat at 6pm, while I prefer to meet for drinks first at 7.30pm and have dinner at 8 or 8.30pm. of course this timing changes in summer, where it might even be later.

  6. Katie – fantastic post! I try to eat tuna because I know I should…but I am so not a fan. Your recipe, however, looks great! I never thought of pairing it with feta….hmmm…I will keep trying and so with this recipe! Thanks!

  7. Since we no longer go out to work and it is winter and cold…We eat early. A few years ago I laughed at people like we have turned into. It is pathetic but I might just have too many wines if we leave it too late. Who knows what will happen then!!!
    Canned tuna like canned salmon and eggs are a must in one’s pantry they always guarantee you have a meal on hand. Your salad looks excellent.

  8. First time visiting your blog, and I found myself laughing at the whole timing of food thing. For me, the hardest part of visiting Spain is eating dinner so late. When I was in my 20s, my stomach could have handled it. Not any more!
    I haven’t eaten canned tuna in a long time. I’ve reduced my intake due to the mercury thing, but I still enjoy it, and this post makes my mouth water. Thanks for reminding me of it!

  9. Thanks Katie-a great entry, I think I will have it for lunch soon. The hummus vinaigrette sounds really special! And do I know the problems with eating times…In Sweden you eat very early and here it’s rather late but not like in Spain, so we go for a sort of in-between plus that we have had to adapt ourselves to the children who went to bed fairly early for Italian standards. But we are still eating in the wrong hours according to the Italians!

  10. Nora, if I have dinner at 6:00 I don’t know what to do with the rest of the evening… or we just stay out and have too much wine
    😉
    Chris, sounds wierd – but try adding a bit of ketchup to the tuna and feta….whole different taste and maybe you’ll like it better…
    Gille, the early nights of winter make us eat earlier, too – 10:30 haha! I wish I could find canned salmon. I’ll try the international section…
    Toni, in Spain you really have to do the whole thing – late lunch, tapas, etc. I have to admit I can really get into that lifestyle. Check out the World’s Healthies Foods site – they have some info on the mercury thing. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Katie those eating times are so funny. When we were in Sevilla, we went into a really nice restaurant about 7:30 one evening. Nobody around. As we were leaving, a man came in, we four talked with him a little and finally he said wait a minute. Pretty soon here came a waiter and we were seated in the dining room with no other customers until 10:30. We’d run into the chef on our way out! And we and I think everybody there had a lovely time!
    That hummus vinaigrette has been on my list to do a while! I think it would be lovely on the tuna and avocado, lunch or dinner at any hour. . . even breakfast!

  12. The biggest problem I would have with eating a late supper is I would have to get out of bed to eat it!!! I am really a morning gal, and by 10pm I am flossing and washing my face!

  13. Ilva, yeah, children add another side to the problem, although in Spain they’re trained from the start. Seems strange to see toddlers at dinner at midnight… behaving!
    Tanna, you probably caught the guy leaving after lunch! The hummus was good – even though I had to make my own and had to sub. peanut butter for tahini (couldn’t find any)…
    Farmgirl, at your house, yes I can see the problem 😉 But if you were actually in Spain you’d be so screwed up with jet lag it would be easy….

  14. Yummm! I’m a canned tuna (as long as it’s good) addict. Unfortuantely, I have hideous acid reflux and can’t eat anything after 7 pm. It’s very sad isn’t it? What will I do when I visit Spain?

  15. All I could think of when I read “second breakfast” was Pippin in Lord of the Rings, haha! I eat 5-6 times a day as I’m on a fitness plan thingy, so I guess I hit them all: first breakfast, second breakfast/elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, supper…LOL! I love tuna and will have to try this…the words “feta” and “hummus” jumped off the page at me and made my stomach growl…YUM!

  16. Sher, It IS very sad…. You’ll just have to visit all of the tapas bars – poor you 😉
    I have been know to eat the tuna right out of the can…with a squirt of (gulp) ketchup!
    Cyberdelia, when Pippin said that I started to laugh – I couldn’t decide if it was from Ireland or Spain!

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