Sometimes I get so consumed with trying new things in the kitchen that I forget a simple meal like soup and a sandwich can be just what the doctor ordered. And so it was the other night. My husband purchased some gourmet soup at our local grocery store, New England clam chowder to be exact, and every night he kept saying, “Let’s have something to go along with that soup.”
For some reason I was hard pressed to think of something and so I held off for a couple of days. When he asked once again and I told him I was struggling with an accompaniment he said, “How about a tuna salad sandwich.” Bingo. It’s like those words just hit the spot. So off I went researching various tuna salad recipes until I figured out what bits and pieces of various recipes might work for us.
I have to tell you it was a very satisfying meal. No frills, no fuss, just store bought soup and home made tuna salad on white sandwich bread. Sometimes all the bells and whistles just can’t compare to the simple pleasures of life. But even simple dinner fare can produce some lessons learned. Here are mine:
Lesson Learned 1 – Make the tuna ahead of time and let the flavors get acquainted: There is a big difference when the flavors have the chance to meld. I recommend making this and letting it sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Overnight is even better.
Lesson Learned 2 – Use a combination of tunas: For this recipe I used a combination of solid white and light tuna. What’s the difference you ask? Solid white is almost like a large flaked tuna filet. It is very full bodied but dry. Light tuna has almost a shaved consistency. It is slightly darker but more moist. The combination of the two gives the perfect consistency for tuna salad.
Lesson Learned 3 – Not all white breads are alike: I really wanted to serve the tuna salad “old school” and so I decided to serve it on plain white sandwich bread. Have you ever read the ingredients on packages of plain white sandwich bread? More and more I am shying away from processed foods made from names I cannot pronounce, names that sound like they should be in a beaker in a laboratory and not an ingredient in my food. So I chose a more expensive organic white bread, Rudi’s country morning white to be exact. The ingredients in the bread were all organic and I could pronounce them all (I knew what all the ingredients were as well). I guess if I was really trying to eat cleaner I would have made some home made bread. I just didn’t have the time. I know how difficult it is to eliminate all kinds of processed foods from your life, but being diligent and making smart choices more often than not has to be better for your overall health, right?
Lesson Learned 4 – Once you make the tuna salad the possibilities are endless: I chose a more traditional way to serve the tuna salad. But you make a tuna melt, a tuna stuffed tomato, tuna salad lettuce wraps, tuna pasta salad, an avocado and tuna salad wrap, or tuna salad mixed with your favorite greens and veggies. The sky’s the limit on this one.
The next time you want to have something simple but satisfying make some tuna salad and experiment with various ways to serve it. But let me tell you, a plain tuna salad sandwich on white bread with some sliced tomato, lettuce and pickles really hit the spot the other night!
Deli Style Tuna Salad…
2 (5 ounce) cans of solid white tuna packed in water, drained
2 (5 ounce) cans of light tuna packed in water, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/4 cup celery, minced
1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
1 Tbs. fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
1 – 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
4 green onions, white parts only, chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper
Tabasco sauce (to taste, optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Start out with only 1/4 cup mayo and add more to taste. Adjust salt, pepper, tabasco and lemon to taste. (I only used 1 Tbs. of lemon and found it added flavor but did not overpower the tuna).
Cover and refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours. Serve on white bread with some sliced tomatoes, leaf lettuce and sandwich pickles.