Friday, March 10, 2017

Grown-Up Tuna Salad Sandwich

Last Year's Post: Baked Oatmeal
Two Years Ago:  Mushroom & Pea Risotto

By "grown-up" I don't mean to imply kids won't like this sandwich, I just mean it's a little more sophisticated than the classic tuna with mayo and celery.  I've always loved tuna sandwiches but have found a lot of bland versions in restaurants with way too much mayo and tasteless tuna.  And don't even get me started on the pre-wrapped versions in vending machines and airport kiosks.  Why do I even do that?  Other restaurants try to go high-end by adding curry or almonds and currants, which in my book do not belong in tuna salad.  Ever.

There are three critical parts to a delicious tuna sandwich:  the tuna, the bread, and the flavorings.  First, the tuna - use the best quality you can find, not the water-packed stuff in the grocery store.  You can go one of two ways: either an imported high-quality oil-packed tuna such as the Genova brand I found this week at my local Fry's (which was absolutely excellent) or the Wild Planet brand that you can find at Whole Foods and Costco.  Wild Planet cooks the tuna in the can without any additional water or oil, and the albacore is sustainably pole and line caught.  Yes it's expensive, but Costco sells 6 cans for $15 which is much less than at Whole Foods.  Good tuna has a rich, clean taste that you just can't get from the cheap water-packed cans.

Next comes the bread - I prefer a multi-grain or seeded loaf that's not too heavy and is relatively thinly sliced.  You want to taste the tuna, not just bread.  Toasting the bread is optional - it adds a nice crunch to what is otherwise a soft sandwich, but it's a personal thing.  I lightly toasted the bread in advance because I wanted the tuna salad to be cold.  If you want yours warm you could assemble the sandwich and toast it in a skillet or panini press.

And then the other flavor components:  this recipe originally caught my eye because it includes cottage cheese.  Say what? I think it adds creaminess and allows you to cut down on the mayo.  The recipe also has red onion, celery, lemon, capers, dill and Dijon.   The combination is deliciously light and flavorful - The Lawyer even commented on how good the tuna salad was after just one bite.  If you like a good tuna salad sandwich, this is a great recipe to try.

Grown-Up Tuna Salad Sandwich
Makes 2-3 sandwiches

1 (5 or 6 ounce) can best-quality tuna, preferably packed in oil
1/3 cup small curd cottage cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
1 celery stalk, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped dill
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Lettuce and sliced tomatoes (optional)
Multi-grain bread (lightly toasted or not, your choice)

Drain the tuna.  If it was packed in water or dry, add a teaspoon of good quality olive oil to the tuna.  Break the tuna up with a fork into small chunks, then gently mix in the remaining ingredients. 

Serve on bread with optional lettuce and tomatoes, or serve on lettuce leaves for a low carb option.

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