Monday, March 29, 2010

Mom's Tuna Salad

My Lovely Mother has been making the same tuna salad for years. She may get sick of it from time to time, but I never do. It's the best way I've ever had tuna salad, and it's an easy recipe. A few years ago, she and I contacted everyone in our family to get all of their traditional recipes and combine them in a family cookbook. It was a fun and interesting project, but for some strange reason My Lovely Mother never added her tuna salad recipe.

As it turns out, she's never written down her recipe. Hers calls for a bit more mayonnaise, and this is where we run into problems. On my very first date with Serrano (over two years ago), he informed me about his dislike for mayonnaise. Not informed. Ranted. That man hates mayonnaise with the fire of ten thousand suns, and didn't hold back from telling me all about it, even on our first date. He kept saying, "It doesn't occur in nature!" since the egg acts as an emulsifier for the oil and the vinegar, two things that do not naturally combine.

I already knew that mayo wasn't great for you since it has a fair amount of calories with very little taste, but his rant had an effect on me. I rarely put mayo on sandwiches anymore, and this is the only dish where I'll eat it. I normally favor mayo's sandwich cousin that has no calories and much more flavor--mustard. However, having tuna salad with mustard and very little mayo doesn't taste too good. So here is my exception--and it is worth the mayonnaise.

By the way, if you want this the traditidional way My Lovely Mother makes it, just leave out the mustard and Serrano pepper. When my cats were alive, we used to give them the water from the tuna cans as a treat. They would run into the kitchen each time they heard the can opener, and were always happy to lap up the tuna water.

Tuna Salad
1 12 oz. Can of Tuna, water packed
2/3 cup Celery (about 3 stalks)
1/2 cup Dill Pickle
3 tbsp. Capers
Half a Serrano pepper
1 tbsp. Mustard
5 tbsp. Mayonnaise (to taste)

Open the can of tuna and squeeze out the water by pressing the lid down firmly on the tuna. Squeeze around the edges until all of the water is drained. Put tuna into a medium-size bowl and flake into small pieces. Chop the celery stalks and dill pickle. Thoroughly drain the capers, then add the chopped celery, capers, and dill pickle to the bowl. Slice a Serrano pepper in half. Set aside one half, then cut the other in half. Remove with the seeds with a spoon, then chop before adding to the tuna mixture.

Stir all of the ingredients together. Taste the mixture to be sure it is to your liking. If desired, add more ingredients. Add the tablespoon of mustard and a few tablespoons of mayonnaise. Stir, adding more mayonnaise (or mustard if you wish) until it has the right consistency and taste. Serve and enjoy.

No comments: