Tuna Salad Salad

Need something quick and easy for a busy summer weeknight? Look no further.

I grew up in Georgia without central air conditioning, so my mom had many a no-fuss meal in her repertoire. This was a favorite of mine as a kid, and you can make it as kid friendly as you want, adding or taking away as many vegetables as your tot will tolerate. My big kid loves a big salad, but my toddler doesn’t (yet) eat lettuce, tomatoes or peppers, so he gets a plate of separate piles of tuna, pasta, eggs, olives, cucumbers and carrots.

If you happen to have leftover pasta and hard-boiled eggs, you can toss this together in a matter of minutes. Any of the vegetables and greens can be replaced by your favorites. But I will say that tuna, calamata olives and eggs go together beautifully.

I buy U.S. hook-and-line-caught albacore tuna. I recently caught up with Jeremiah O’Brien, a California albacore troller, via satphone from the water. He says the West Coast fleet’s catch rate has remained stable since the 1980s. The fishery is managed by international coalition and there’s no quota or total allowable catch. The U.S. fleet lands about 18 percent of the global total catch.

“We fish when they show up and stop when they go away,” he says.

Simple as that. Troll-caught albacore are also smaller fish, which means less bycatch than other methods of fishing, a higher omega-3 content and less methylmercury (though limited exposure via consumption of fish is not sufficiently connected to long-term deleterious effects, in my opinion).

For this meal, you could sub canned salmon, small cooked shrimp, lump crab meat, broiled or grilled whitefish. The world is your seafood salad salad.

If you’d like more information on albacore trolling, check out the Western Fishboat Owners Association.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 5-ounce cans albacore tuna
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 stalk of celery, chopped fine
1/2 pound small pasta (like rotini or small shells)
2 heads of romaine hearts, chopped
4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
2 avocados
1 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup cucumbers, sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
1/2 cup calamata olives, sliced

Preparation

Cook your pasta to al dente, drain and toss lightly with olive oil. Drain cans of tuna and combine with mayonnaise and celery.

Prep each plate with a salad, dress lightly, then top with pasta, tuna and olives.

You can serve with a simple blend of oil and vinegar, a homemade vinaigrette (recipe below) or any favorite (yes, store-bought!) dressing. I like to top my tuna with balsamic vinegar.

Basic vinaigrette

Ingredients

1 cup oil
3/4 cup vinegar (use your favorite)
1 shallot, chopped roughly (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon mayonnaise (optional)

Preparation

Blend ingredients until frothy. Salt and pepper to taste.

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About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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