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Friday, June 24, 2016

The IT Tuna Salad Revised

I'm from the south so, to me, everyone loves tuna salad.  It's cheap, it's yummy, it's rustic and homey and, if you choose well, it's wild caught fish for a buck or two.  Can't beat it!  When else do you make a whole seafood family meal for $2 or so?  Umm...that's right, never!

Maybe I like tuna a bit more than most.  My lazy but super busy high school days led me to try some interesting stuff.  Tuna scrambled eggs were amazing in my book.  Two or three eggs scrambled with cheese, tuna, a bit of garlic powder, and mmmm mmm mmm, is it good!  Tuna melts?  Oh yeah, grilled cheese, mooove over!  Throw some spinach leaves to wilt on that puppy mmm!  My college days led to tuna fish cakes.  Every good southerner ought to know how to whip up a good fish cake. Tuna is way cheaper than salmon, so it's a win!  Recent days have led to a gluten-free innovation that I am just loving, tuna stuffed arepas (South American corn cakes) with fresh spinach.  Grab a bag of white harina PAN (pre-cooked cornmeal with zero grittiness) from the Latin aisle, follow the directions, and within 15 - 20 minutes you're cookin'!

You see, the thing about tuna is that people assume the problem with it is that it's too regular, too blah.  No, no, no, no, no, the problem is home cooks are too boring and too blah.  A good tuna salad requires garlic powder, chopped boiled egg, a few dashes of hot sauce, cayenne pepper, and a splash or so of vinegar.  The rest, well, be creative!  This tuna salad will make you a believer.  It is gourmet and quick and easy.  People will think you got it from a high-end sandwich shop.  Bring back those bagged spinach leaves I love and tuck em into that sandwich with a few sprigs of fresh cilantro, and you just can't beat this puppy with a stick. For some extra fun, turn it into tuna and pasta salad with the macaroni or shell pasta added in and maybe even shredded white cheese.  I can go on for days here.

The IT Tuna Salad
4 cans of tuna (Yes, you do need this much)
2-3TB mayo (This was left out of original post.  Sorry!)
4 TB (or 1/4 c) distilled white vinegar
1 TB cider vinegar
1 TB lemon pepper
1 tsp oregano (rubbed between your fingers to release flavor)
1/2 tsp or so red habanero hot sauce (I recommend Badia from Latin aisle) (The more hot sauce you add, add more cilantro to keep flavor fresh and bright.)
1/2 TB salt
dash or two of cayenne pepper
black pepper to taste
1 stalk celery, diced (chop up any leaves too)
5 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped (If you're a cilantro hater, use two sprigs parsley)
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Mix it up, mix it up, throw it in the pan!  Well, not really the pan, but the bowl or something like that.
Enjoy with sandwich bread or an arepa.

Aaaand, for this recipe, I'd like to thank my grandmother for bringing to my attention that I did not make nearly enough use of lemon pepper.  I wasn't using it at all in fact.  For shame!  Thanks, Big Mama!

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