I am 26 years old and I just started to like tuna salad.
It began, I think, about a month ago, when I stopped at the little cafe at Strictly Bicycles on my way back from a Sunday ride in Jersey. This was the day that I got the clamp fixed on my seatpost. As the mechanic worked on my bike, I settled in on a stool and devoured lunch: tuna salad in a long, thin pita. The salad was fresh, dripping with lemony mayonnaise sauce, and nothing like the picnic salads of my elementary school days. In short, I was hooked. Since then, I have been trying tuna salad sandwiches at every deli I happen to enter, and twiddling with a version in my own kitchen. Tuna salad is the best dish that I have discovered in recent memory: it's easy to make, packs its protein (always tough with salads), and can stand by itself or accompany another meal. I am kicking myself for never having given it its due before this. But then again, I think of how many years I may have ahead of me to eat tuna salad! I give myself a good fifty, at least.
I wasn't satisfied with the recipes that I found in my cookbooks, all full of red pepper and chopped celery (bleh!), so I combined one of my favorite homemade carrot slaws with tuna and a mayonnaise dressing, and came up with the following:
Ai Lu's Tuna Salad:
2 4-ounce cans water-packed tuna
3 medium carrots, coarsely shredded
1/4 head fennel, julienned
6 dried figs, finely sliced
1/2 cup raw cashews
Optional: 1 cup cooked rice
Dressing: 1/4 cup mayonnaise, juice from 1/2 lemon, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon tahini. Mix well before incorporating into salad until slightly moist.
Condiments: A generous amount of ground pepper, sea salt
Tomorrow I'm traveling to Minnesota to visit my parents over the long holiday weekend, and since I'm too stingy and too picky to pay for airport food, I'll be bringing a tupperware full of this tuna salad with me on the plane. Nothing could be better at 30,000 feet! I just hope that the person next to me likes the smell of fish...