Tuna fish is that canned essential ingredient in a well-stocked pantry. It’s not a coveted meal. It’s the lunch or dinner served the day before a paycheck, or in this Great Recession, it’s a deposit from the unemployment agency into the bank account. Yep, I know about those emergency meals. Truthfully, I crave a fresh tuna steak. Thinly sliced revealing a bright pink flesh with a tender, mouth-watering, saline taste seasoned only with good quality olive oil, sea salt, and fresh black pepper. Oh, those were the days when life was worry-free. These days, I use a can opener.
This is a simple Tuna salad packed with herbal flavor. It’s how to make a poor-man’s (or woman’s) meal into a feast for royalty. Most of the ingredients are standard pantry items. Maybe the pappadew peppers isn’t in everyone’s refrigerator, but I highly recommend including these small peppers in your pantry inventory. For this recipe, only a few are needed. Those few cost roughly one dollar if purchased by the pound at an olive bar. Purchasing a jar is costly if living on a restricted budget. They’re sweet and politely spicy. I like dicing a few peppers in place of pickled relish for deviled eggs and mayonnaise-based potato salads. They’re also flavorful in cold Greek salads or a Brazilian Stir-Fry made with collard greens. If pappadew peppers are too spicy or difficult to locate, roast or raw diced red bell peppers are kind replacements.
Even if the budget is tight, try to maintain a good pantry. I know the saying: “It’s easier said than done.” I’m currently living in that situation. However, if a delicious Herbal Tuna Sandwich, sourced from a metal tin can, is being made in your kitchen and enjoyed on fresh homemade bread, then life is simply good.
Herbal Tuna Salad
10 oz. canned tuna; packed in water without salt; drained
3 to 4 green onions; minced
2 to 3 celery stalks; diced (optional, add chop leaves)
4 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary and sage
2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
The juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
3 to 4 tbsp. Greek yogurt (must be thick)
4 to 6 peppadew peppers (from an olive salad bar, if can’t find use 1 roast red pepper); roughly chopped
2 tsp. olive pesto (alternatively use 1/8 cup chopped kalamata olives)
Sea salt and fresh black pepper; to taste
A dash of celery seeds
A dash of white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. honey
A generous drizzle of olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 to 1/4 cup walnuts; toasted and chopped
1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Enjoy as a salad or with your favorite bread to make a sandwich.
Note: Try adding a few other pickled vegetables from an olive bar such as cornichons, artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms, and so forth.
“Brown Bag” Suggestion: Store Herbal Tuna Salad and one boiled/cooked whole egg with shell on in separate containers. Place salad greens and bread in separate ziploc bags. When packing, place tuna salad at the bottom of a lunch carrying container. Layer with boiled eggs. Place the bread and the lettuce on top. At work, assemble sandwich or salad at your desk or in the cafeteria. Unpeel and roughly chop egg to place on top of the Herbal Tuna Salad. Season with packets of salt and pepper, if needed. Enjoy!
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