Crowd-Sourced Tuna Salad

Corn. Bah.

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Hard pass on the raisins!

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Hmm. For adherence to recipes hard pass across the board. Closest to Mediterranean, but no way beans in tuna salad. Curry is okay, just don’t go overboard on nuts; I prefer sunflower seeds or crushed walnuts. Hippy is okay but pass on the raisins and honey.

For me: very fine dice of celery and red onion and black olives, capers, maybe bell peppers. Dressing of good mayo, a little Dijon mustard (no yellow), and a bit of vinegar. Hard boiled egg is okay.

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Alright, who wants to know what I put in tuna salad? Everybody, probably.

Celery, lemon, red onion, capers, horseradish and/or pickle brine, parsley and/or dill. Plus mayo and salt & pepper, obviously.

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That one actually reminds me of a salad I used to order frequently for lunch (from an Italian place that is currently closed due to COVID, unfortunately) - theirs was even simpler, just white beans, tuna and lots of chopped scallions dressed with their house vinaigrette (which was lightly creamy dressing with lots of whole grain mustard, champagne vinegar and a bit of mayo, plus some mystery seasonings). Delicious, but definitely not what I would call tuna salad - really more of a bean salad with tuna.

Generally if I want a ton of other ingredients with tuna I will just make a salad with those ingredients and add oil-packed tuna to the top of it. If I want “tuna salad,” like for a sandwich or to spread on crackers, it will just be tuna, mayo, salt and a bit of something tangy (either in the form of pickled jalapeno brine, mustard, straight vinegar or a tangy hot sauce). Occasionally I will chop fresh herbs, olives, HBE or pickled jalapenos finely and add them, but no celery or onion for me. And never, EVER anything sweet. Ugh. Just thinking about that gives me the shivers.

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It may have been @LindaWhit who gave me a recipe for one of those when I was drowning in basil. It was pretty excellent.

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One of my most disappointing food experiences/realisations ever was to discover that the American definition of “chicken salad” is very different from the European definition that I’m used to. Fully expecting some grilled or fried chicken alongside salady things like lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pepper, etc. And what came was this awful beige gloop - chicken so finely chopped it was impossible to detect a flavour through the overly seasoned mayo and finely chopped unidentified other stuff. Just horrible. I have not ordered anything described as “salad” since on trips to America unless it specifies what they intend it to be. At least using a tin of tuna means that there’s likely to be the flavour of salt so it will taste of something.

Yes, in America “XXX Salad” usually means XXX ingredient chopped and mixed with a mayo-based dressing, where as “Salad with XXX” is usually a lettuce or greens-based bowl of vegetables with XXX on top. There can be regional variation in nomenclature, though, and also variation among different types of restaurants (e.g., a diner versus a Michelin-starred place might refer to the same type of salad differently). Definitely smart to ascertain what you are getting as a visitor!

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And don’t forget the difference between macaroni salad and pasta salad! The former being small pasta drenched in a mayo dressing plus maybe celery or onion (in other words, chicken salad but with noodles) vs pasta salad which is any type of pasta usually room temp or cold, with any variety of chopped meats or veg and any dressing. But not the gloppy scoop of macaroni salad.

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Maybe I don’t call it tuna salad, but a salad with tuna, white beans, a light vinagrette, and some crunchy savory elements like onion, celery, or herbs, is an absolute delight.

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Absolutely agree. I tend to call that by its Italian name of “tonno e fagioli”. A not uncommon lunch for me.

And thanks for that. I’ll bear that distinction in mind for future trips.

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I’ve made it a bit of a “house rule” at least in my head that while I’m working at home, I will max out at cooking 1 meal per day. Everyone can forage for breakfast and lunch (usually). And I have a couple of days of recipes already lined up. But this thread is very much inspiring me to throw together a “Mediterranean” tuna salad to have around in the fridge for lunching or snacking.

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Raisins and curry in tuna - I cannot imagine the travesty. Same thing but in a chicken salad, and that is delightful. Especially on an interesting bread (date nut perhaps) and with some greens. Humans are funny.

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I don’t mind curried tuna salad, but I am anti-fish+fruit, generally. Except lemon & lime, of course. Do not come at me with mango tuna tacos or orange-glazed prawns.

Funny. Until your examples, I couldn’t think of examples. I would not at all mind a mango salsa on top of broiled fish. But the article also made a mention of cottage cheese, and I cannot abide by cottage cheese in any preparation whatsoever, or by itself. That texture!!!

Different folks, different strokes.

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So my pan-seared scallops with a mango salsa with red onions, parsley, Cuban peppers and lime juice that I made on Saturday would be a no-go for you @small_h?

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They look great to me!

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I mean, I’d eat it, to be polite. But I’d prefer it minus the mango. I like minced jalapenos, soy sauce & lemon on my scallops.

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Worse are the “jello salads” of the midwest and south, where they are served as side dishes accompanying the main course. The stereotype is canned fruit salad, drained, plus mini marshmallows, in red jello. If anything, it’s a dessert, though not one I’d want. I do like the one that is orange jello plus shredded carrots and drained canned crushed pineapple, but as a snack or dessert. Red jello with drained whole cranberry sauce and chopped apple is an okay condiment at the Thanksgiving table.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold