Sautèed Tuna, Egg and Rice Brunch

There are times when my Asian side just wakes me up in the morning without warning and drags me to the kitchen and take out the essentials to make a super brunch. Having been used to salty and much heavier (with rice please) breakfasts, Italian breakfasts are a stark contrast to the full breakfast plates I enjoy in the Philippines. Unlike in Italy where I don't usually need a plate anymore while eating my cornetto or croissant and drinking my espresso while on my feet, the Philippine version requires me to sit down with a nice big plate and sit on a comfortable chair because these breakfasts are meant to be long.

First, the composition of the Filipino breakfast never changes. There has to be rice (preferably fried or mixed), egg and meat or fish as the main part of the breakfast plate. Indeed, it is strange to the ones who only know about sweet breakfasts. So at home, this becomes brunch that I always enjoy with my son. I use canned tuna preserved in olive oil and freshly-cooked white rice because I don't get to keep day-old rice in my kitchen. If you have a batch of leftover rice from the day before, that is much better than freshly-cooked rice to make a simple Filipino fried rice or mixed rice because the older rice has a better consistency than the freshly-cooked one.

More Filipino Breakfasts:

Dried Herring, Fried Rice & Egg (Tuyosilog), A Philippine Breakfast 
Hotdogs, Eggs and Fried Rice (Hotsilog), A Philippine Breakfast  
Tapsilog, A Philippine Breakfast  

Sautèed Tuna, Egg and Rice Brunch

Serves 2

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups cooked white rice (preferably day-old if making the fried rice but freshly-cooked is also possible to be used)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered or 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 3 (80-gram) or 1 (7-ounce) can tuna, drained and crushed with the back of a fork
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper 
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 cup pancetta or bacon, diced

  1. If you are making fried or mixed rice, get a medium to large saucepan with some extra virgin olive oil. Over medium heat, sautè 1 clove of garlic. When it has turned lightly golden brown and fragrant, add the rice and toss with the oil well. Cook for about 5 minutes then set aside. Keep it warm.
  2. Over medium heat, in a medium saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, sautè the remaining garlic and onions. When they become fragrant, add the tomatoes then toss for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the drained and crushed tuna then toss for about 10 minutes together.
  4. Season with the salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
  5. Sprinkle with the parsley if using. Set aside and keep warm.
  6. In another medium dry saucepan, toast the pancetta well then set aside. Discard the excess fat. Pour about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in the saucepan then cook the eggs. Season with salt and pepper (if using). When the eggs are cooked, set aside and keep warm.
  7. Compose the breakfast dish by putting some rice, the sautèed tuna and an egg sprinkled with the toasted pancetta.