Jun 2, 2009

sometimes tuna salad

sometimes. sometimes it's nice to keep things simple. and sometimes it can be good to give a closer look to something that no one really thinks much about at all. and so here we are with a bit of tuna salad. here in the u.s., a tuna salad sandwich is a mundane delicatessen item, and generally speaking, includes way way way way way too much mayonnaise.

but it doesn't have to be this way. imagine a world where tuna salad has veg and olive oil and lemon, like say the mediterranean region. this tuna salad is like that. the taste is like warm sunshine on the beach, bright, fresh, vibrant, zingy. 

r and i love this desperately, so much so that we occasionally  bemoan the day we had these children, tuna refusniks both of them. they refuse and re-refuse to eat it as they protest and hate it in direct proportion to the amount that we love it. ah well we can't really complain too much as we did sign up to be their parents. and as i keep reminding myself, they aren't returnable anyway, and they really do have many other fine qualities.

tuna salad
first off, find yourself a jar of really high quality tuna, maybe italian, sustainably harvested, maybe tuna that seems way too expensive. the recipe will still work beautifully with any old run-of-the mill canned tuna, but i try and remember my cooking school teacher's mantra, "you can't rise above your ingredients."

1 jar really great tuna, sustainably harvested, flaked (packed in water or olive oil)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh tomato (cherry work fine, as do roma)
1/3 cup finely chopped cucumber
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup grated carrot
2 TBSP chopped flat leaf parsley
juice of 1 lemon
4 TBSP organic extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP organic mayonnaise (optional, makes it stick together a bit more for ease of eating)
a fresh baguette or thickly sliced italian bread, lightly toasted just before serving
salt and pepper to taste

mix tuna with veg, until evenly mixed. add in the lemon juice. drizzle on the olive oil. add salt and pepper. see if you need the mayo or not. toast the bread. assemble sandwiches. squash sandwiches down rather dramatically so they hold together nicely 2 minutes before before serving. 

what about over-fishing and mercury? yes, these are both quite legitimate concerns in this world, unfortunately. i have given up tuna in sushi restaurants as a result. apparently the types of fish caught for canning are still abundant but are not always caught using the best methods. wild-caught is the best choice at this time. there is now australian farmed tuna, and other types coming on the market as well. check the monterey bay aquariums' seafood watch site for the latest information here.

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