CHEW THIS! Favorite Tuna Salad

The following “Chew This!” column originally appeared in “The Courier-Times” and / or “The Shelbyville News”. Check their websites for further information and dates.

Favorite Tuna Salad
Blaise Doubman

Most of my life I have tried to avoid tuna and tuna salad because, let us be honest, the smell turns me away. I think it was celebrity food personality, Nigella Lawson, that said, “Tined and canned seafood always reminds me of cat food and not in a bad way but in a jarring way.” I always found that to be true and stayed far, far away without ever really trying it. I never let the tuna pass my lips, therefore not really knowing if I ever liked it or not. Well, during the pandemic, one thing I strongly remember is the panic buying of toilet paper, paper towels, disinfectant supplies, bottled water and canned tuna. Do you remember that? I remember wondering to myself how on Earth anyone could panic buy canned tuna. Then it dawned on me. It is canned, ready to eat and has a long shelf life. Would I have to get used to eating canned tuna if everything else was unavailable? Would I starve? Ok, this sounds dramatic, but it really was a train of thought flowing through my mind. Skip ahead a few weeks, and I caught even myself panic buying a few cans of tuna. After some research I found that canned tuna had not only been around for years but had a huge fan base. Who knew? Tuna comes packed in water, vegetable oil, or newer versions now come packed in olive oil or flavored olive oil. I remember growing up, my family would make tuna salad with mayonnaise and boiled egg. After more research on tuna and tuna salad, I found out that celebrity food TV star, Paula Deen, offered a BBQ tuna salad sandwich when her Bag Lady business launched in Georgia. It was one of the most popular items on the menu! Simply made by combining BBQ sauce and canned tuna and spreading on bread. The thought of all this tuna and tuna salad was making me curious. I decided to dive in and try something I had always avoided.

At first, I am not going to lie, it was challenging! Ha! The chunk tuna light that was packed in water just was not doing it for me. Neither was the tuna packed in vegetable oil. However, when I got to the tuna that was packed in olive oil and flavored olive oils, I found it to have incredible flavor and really be quite delicious! I thought about what would make a good tuna salad and decided to let Paula Deen keep her BBQ flavors. I wanted something bolder and brighter. Immediately I thought of lemon. Lemon paired with any type of seafood is a delicious combination. I wanted to skip the boiled eggs but wanted something flavorful and crisp. I went with celery of course and then thought about a mild onion flavor by using green onion. I read somewhere that Martha Stewart puts diced apple in her tuna salad and thought that sounded really interesting, so I decided to try it. I am glad I did because it really brought with it a flavorful crunch and juicy flavor. After a few trial and errors, I came up with the perfect tuna salad recipe and could not believe I found a version that I actually enjoyed! My favorite way of eating this is with Triscuit crackers but enjoy this any way you desire. Leftovers should be kept covered and chilled in the refrigerator and will last for 2 days. Someone mentioned to me about a tuna melt, combining tuna salad with cheese on toast but that may be an experiment for another day down the road! Have a favorite tuna salad recipe? Share it with me on my website!

Favorite Tuna Salad

This salad is best served chilled, straight from the refrigerator.

2 cans tuna, packed in olive oil
2 stalks celery, thinly diced
1 Gala apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup diced green onion
Juice from 2 lemons
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Drain the tuna and place into a large bowl. Gently break up the tuna, using a fork.

Add in the diced celery, diced apple and diced green onion.

Add in the lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt and black pepper. Stir.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a few questions about my favorite brands of butter. Land O Lakes is the best and what I use the most. I prefer the unsalted variety, especially when baking. There are also some European butters that I am fond of but do not use regularly because of the different butterfat content in each brand, compared to American brands. Truffle butter and honey butter are also personal favorites of mine.

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