No matter how creative or spontaneous or inventive I aim to be with my weekday lunches, at some point I always end up craving just simple a tuna salad sandwich. It’s lunchtime comfort food. Has it been a while since you last had tuna salad? Here’s my favorite, most basic recipe. I think it’s just about perfect. There’s not much to making tuna salad, really. My brother often just mixes the tuna with mayo and a few cracks of black pepper and calls it good! I like to add some crunch to balance out the cream, and so I mix in some chopped celery and shallots when I make it. A spoonful of pickle relish may not be the way you grew up with it, but try it — the sweet and sour pickles add just a little something extra to each bite. And of course, sandwiches are just one of many dishes you can make with tuna salad. Mix in some macaroni for an easy pasta salad side dish or pack it into avocado halves or scooped-out tomatoes for a gluten-free lunch. A few spoonfuls of tuna salad with crackers is also one of my favorite afternoon snacks.
2 5-ounce cans water-packed tuna fish
2 to 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 rib celery, diced small
1 small shallot or 1/4 red onion, diced small
1 tablespoon lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
1 tablespoon pickle relish, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste
Use a can opener to cut open the cans of tuna fish, but leave the lid in place. Holding the cans over the sink or a bowl, press the lid into the tuna fish and tilt the can to drain all the liquid. Remove the lids and transfer the tuna fish to a mixing bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, celery, shallot, lemon juice, pickle relish (if using), a sprinkle of salt, and a few cracks of fresh black pepper to the tuna fish. Stir with a fork to combine, breaking up any large chunks of tuna fish as you go. Add more mayo if you’d like smoother, creamier tuna salad. Taste and add more of any of the ingredients to taste.
Use tuna salad immediately or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.