I realize that this might sound kind of silly, but since I’m a bit of a silly person, I can’t help but wonder if the basic “mayo-only” tuna salad wants so much more for itself out of life. I can almost hear it saying in a frustrated tone, “This mayo is a nice start, but I have so much more to offer this world than just nice!” (It’s a very dramatic and passionate tuna salad, mind you). I imagine it having the desire to be an even greater tuna salad than it’s ever been, with crunch, freshness, zip and kick; a tuna salad worthy of being stuffed into the finest, crustiest seeded baguette; or scooped up by the most savory, “everything-on-‘em” crackers; or one that’s able to proudly stand up to the zestiest bed of peppery greens it’s spooned over. The “mayo-only” tuna salad senses its potential for greatness, and it’s had enough of being “nice” -it’s ready to get mixed up with some influential elements that’ll take it to the next level.
OK, I’ll confess that I’ve never been a big fan of “mayo-only” tuna salad. Maybe it’s a consistency thing for me, but I need a little something to crunch into, to get some bite out of. I know how good tuna can be when combined with a few more things that make it a heartier, more textured salad that I can sink my teeth into; and then it’s oh-so good, and one of my favorite salads. For me, it’s all about layering when it comes to making really great tuna salad, and building flavors and creating crunch. The light, sweet-spice of red onion, the juicy crunchiness of celery and the “green” note of a fresh herb are a few key yummies that give tuna salad the hit of complexity it needs, and “Dang, Gina!” what a difference it makes.
So I raise my toasted baguette to “mayo-only” tuna salad for taking the step out to find its even greater self. Getting mixed up with other elements turned out to be the best thing it ever did, and I love it for having the chutzpah to do it. Thanks, tuna, for becoming the even greater, tastier tuna salad you were always meant to be. I just knew you had it in you.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Even Greater Tuna Salad with Diced Red Onion, Celery and Fresh Dill
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(Serves about 4)
2 (5 ounce) cans no-salt-added solid white tuna in water, drained very well
¼ red onion, finely diced
3 ribs celery, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon real mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon salt, plus an extra pinch
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon yellow mustard
½ teaspoon lemon zest
-In a medium bowl, combine the well-drained tuna with the remainder of the ingredients, and mix well; keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
*Great served on toasted baguette or whole-grain bread, with crackers or over crisp greens.