Add Lemon To Instantly Brighten Up A Can Of Tuna

Given its unmatched versatility and ease of preparation, it's no surprise that canned tuna is such a go-to for homemade food. As a key component in everything from pasta, salads, and fried rice to sandwiches and casseroles, this pantry staple gives you flavorful and delicious dishes without breaking a sweat. Of course, as is the case with any frequently used ingredient, tuna's familiar flavor might start to fall flat after a while. Fortunately, the solution to this problem is unbelievably simple: All it requires is a lemon or two.

Love it or hate it, there's no denying what lemon brings to the table (or in our case, to canned tuna). It takes away the fish's predictable briny, savory taste with a zesty brightness that makes every bite much more vibrant. This burst of sunshiney flavor is accompanied by an acidity that cuts through the tuna's richness and masks any underlying fishy or metallic notes. No more worrying about unpleasant scents ruining your dish's flavor profile — and there are plenty of ways to make this trick work no matter what tuna dish you're preparing.

The magic of lemon comes in many different forms

There's no one best method to pair lemon with canned tuna, although squeezing the lemon juice into your canned fish before using it in your recipe of choice is undoubtedly the most common. For instance, in tuna salads, lemon juice is a must-have ingredient that balances out the overall flavors and adds a hint of tartness for complexity. This method is quick, easy, and also works with a wide range of other tuna dishes.

Another foolproof option — if you really want that citrus beam to shine through — is by zesting your lemon. The zest is less acidic than the juice, but it's much brighter and more fragrant. Not only is it a fantastic addition to the fish, but it also works as a stellar garnish to give dishes like stuffed tuna, crostini, or lettuce wraps a more vibrant appearance. Simply grate the outer yellow part of the lemon for the zest, but try to avoid the white pith underneath — it can get quite bitter.

For those home cooks who want to try something new, there's an entire horizon of lemon condiments to explore. Seasoning mixes of lemon with herb, pepper, garlic, and other spices are excellent shortcuts when you don't have the actual lemon fruit on hand. They'll infuse canned tuna with a more subtle tartness but have the bonus of some other intriguing aromatic nuances. You can also try cooking the tuna with lemon-infused oil, lemon butter, or lemon sauce for a lighter, more dispersed flavor distribution.