I PLAY WITH MY FOOD: Leaning Tower of Tuna

What’s this? A mug full of cucumber?

Yes, but there’s so much more! Underneath the cucumber are layers upon layers of other tasty, healthy things, and I planned this meal so that they’d get revealed in a very dramatic fashion.

I had been planning a tuna salad lunch, and decided to try something new. I was inspired by restaurant dishes where food is layered and molded into a perfect tower – often times, it’s beef or tuna tartare.

I’ve watched enough Food Network to know that chefs often use a biscuit or cookie cutter to make those presentations, as they’re basically cylinders, but I don’t have any of those (nor do I want any), so I used a big mug, and kept my fingers crossed that all would turn out okay.

Since I would be inverting the mug onto my plate, I filled the bottom of the mug with what I wanted on top: 1/2 of a small avocado, cubed. From there I added more layers:

  • 1 Starkist pouch of yellowtail tuna, in olive oil.
  • 1 layer thinly sliced cucumber.
  • 1 thick layer of salad vegetables, all finely chopped and mixed together: cherry tomatoes, red and green bell pepper, yellow onion, and a few pimiento-stuffed green olives.
  • The last layer was more cucumber slices. These were a little thicker than the first layer, since these would serve as the base.

Once everything was in there, I pressed down on everything a little bit, hoping it would bind together.

And then I flipped it over onto my plate, which I had lined with some salad greens.

Time for the moment of truth!

I captured the actual reveal on video, which you can see on my Facebook page.

My tuna tower!

But David, didn’t you refer to it, in the title of this post, as the “Leaning Tower of Tuna?” Yes, yes I did. You can’t tell from that picture, but it was leaning a little bit, so within seconds of being unmolded, the entire back half crumbled.


The damage was very noticeable from above.

But hey, every experiment can’t be a raging success, and it was still fun to try. I love finding ways to make healthy food fun.

I think there were two problems:

  1. I pressed too hard on the contents of the mug before turning it over. I know that because the avocado and some of the tuna were stuck on the bottom of the mug and didn’t come loose during the unveiling. (You can see this in the video.) That tuna and avocado didn’t go to waste, I spooned it out and added it to the salad. I would never waste tuna or avocado!
  2. The big mass of salad veggies in the middle wasn’t stable enough to support the heavier mass of tuna on top of it. Maybe next time I’ll split the tuna between a couple different layers, more like a parfait. A tuna parfait!

You know what, though? It may not have turned out as beautifully molded as I would have liked, but it still was delicious. I added only a drizzle of olive oil (since the tuna was already packed in olive oil), and a healthier drizzle of red wine vinegar, and feasted on a fantastic 9-ingredient salad.

I wonder if I should coat the mug with non-stick spray next time? Maybe that would help?

Hmm… ideas, ideas…

Keep it up, David!

This wasn’t the first time I’ve played with my food! Check out my watermelon shark, my egg funeral, my cantaloupe Stonehenge, my cucumber chain, and my olive penguins!


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2 Responses to I PLAY WITH MY FOOD: Leaning Tower of Tuna

  1. Jann Newman says:

    It still looks delicious. Another idea is to place the salad greens around your tower after you dump it out of the cup.

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