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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tuna Salad--love it or hate it!

Tuna salad! I love it. I can tell you what restaurant has the best in town, what the least satisfactory. But the very best is made in my home kitchen.

For years I had a standard recipe: 1 can albacore, lots of lemon juice, a couple chopped scallions, and mayo, with maybe a touch of Dijon. Sometimes it ended up pretty soupy because I used to much lemon juice, but Jordan loved it that way and that’s what Jacob expects of tuna salad to this day. Once in a while we added cottage cheese to it—scrumpsh!

But I’ve made some refinements of late. For one thing I order my tuna from a cannery in Oregon. Two or three years ago I read a food book titled, Jam Today: A Diary of Cooking with What You’ve Got. As the subtitle implies, the author Tod Davies advocates looking in your cupboard instead of rushing out to the store. I know I have several dozen meals in my pantry if I’d ever sort it out. Of course, Davies had one  big advantage—a husband who is an avid organic gardener. So, many nights she simply wandered out into the garden to see what was good. Reminds me of the Central Market cooking class in which the class trails behind the chef as he decides what’s fresh and good in the market that day and then cooks a meal with his picks.

Davies mentioned that she always orders tuna from Pisces Cannery. It’s only available by the case of 24 cans, but I can usually find someone to split with me. I’ve discovered they also have outstanding salmon—but only occasionally, depending on the market. I only have two cans of salmon left and I’m hoarding them. For a brochure, write to Sally Bogardus, Box 812, Coos Bay OR 97420 or call 541-266-7336

 But back to tuna, here’s how I make classic tuna today:

1 7-oz. albacore tuna—shredded in mini processor

Juice of one lemon—I use one of those squeezers that gets every last drop

2 scallions, trimmed and sliced

Just enough mayonnaise to bind (I use whole mayo made with olive oil—I’ve learned that low fat products simply substitute carbs and other bad things—fat becomes the lesser evil)

Optional: One good squirt of anchovy paste. No, you don’t taste anchovies—but it sharpens the taste of the tuna.
Eat as salad or serve in tomato, avocado or sandwich, though I avoid the bread--hides the good taste of the tuna.

Another tuna salad:

Here’s an old recipe I hadn’t looked at in years but recently made and found it so good I made it again. It’s intended as filling for pasties, but I like it fine just as salad.

1 7 oz. can albacore, broken up with a fork

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

¼ cup chopped celery

1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1/3/ cup sour cream (yesterday I had no sour cream so I mixed plain yogurt and mayo—worked fine)

Chill and serve—I liked pickled cucumbers as an accompaniment

 If you want pasties, use

1 8 oz. package biscuits – (I used Crescent rolls)

1 Tbsp. butter melted

 If using biscuits, roll into 4 in. oval; place 1//2 cup tuna mix in each of six biscuits and top with remaining biscuit and seal. Brush with melted butter and let stand 15 minutes. Bake 15-18 minutes at 450 on ungreased cookie sheet. Do not let bottoms burn.

To use Crescent rolls, separate into rectangles, and treat like biscuits. Baking time is about the same but keep an eye on them.

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