booze for thought
|S U P E R – S I Z E|
|“Rare-wine collectors are savvy, competitive guys with a taste for impossible finds. The biggest hoax in history took place right under their noses.”|
Twice in my life I have caught fish with my bare hands. Sadly, neither fish was a tuna.
you can tune a piano
There are two main kinds of canned tuna: solid white and chunk light. In the United States albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) makes up most of the canned solid white tuna. Chunk light tuna is most often skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), which isn’t a true tuna — it is more closely related to mackerel. Here is an excellent article from CHOW.com about the differences between the two types of canned tuna.
What Is Chunk Light Tuna?
by Roxanne Weber
Most simply, light tuna is tuna that isn’t white. “White tuna” has an official definition: It’s albacore (which tastes mild and feels firm), and it scores high on a color test. Tuna labeled “light” is pretty much everything else.
Light tuna is primarily made up of a species called skipjack, says Gavin Gibbons, a spokesperson for the National Fisheries Institute, but it can include others such as bigeye, yellowfin, and tongol, in “any combination,” says Stephanie Danner, the fisheries research manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
As for the “chunk” part, it means that the tuna in the can will be in smaller pieces that vary in size, as opposed to “solid” tuna, which is in larger, firmer pieces with fewer flakes.
The FDA’s color test is called the Munsell value. According to FDA regulations, tuna labeled “light” cannot be darker than a Munsell value of 5.3. White tuna cannot be darker than a Munsell value of 6.3. The FDA also has official definitions of the terms chunk and solid: They’re measured by the way the pieces fit through a mesh screen, and the percentage of allowable flake. Light and white tuna have similar nutritional profiles, but white has slightly more fat and calories.
There’s one more important distinction, but it has nothing to do with FDA definitions. White tuna has more mercury than light tuna. StarKist notes in its FAQ that “FDA testing has shown that canned light meat tuna has an average of 0.1 parts per million (ppm) and that Albacore (white meat) tuna has an average of 0.35 ppm.” The reason is that albacore are larger, older fish than the types used for light tuna, so they’ve had more time to accumulate methylmercury.
Nevertheless, the lower-in-mercury light tuna is less expensive than the white tuna, probably because people prefer white.
Today’s dish is a dish that can be served cool, to better enhance your summer enjoyment. It’s also packed with protein because it’s good to have muscles. Muscles come in handy when you need to f#ck someone up (albeit, in a mild manner) — like a certain sh#t-talking lady-demeaning former professional pool player I ran into in Las Vegas…
But, I digress.
Let’s talk about food instead, shall we?
If you were to make the most basic tuna salad, it would be tuna and mayonnaise. What makes tuna salad more fun is all the extras we add. Today, I will show you tuna salad the way I like it. All the add-ins (stuff that is not tuna or mayonnaise) are optional — feel free to omit them if you don’t like them, and feel free to increase or decrease the amount to your taste. If you like other add-ins, throw those in as well.
It goes without saying that the better quality the tuna, the better this salad will taste. Fancy markets have fancy tuna packed in fancy cans in fancy olive oil. Those make fan-f#cking-tastic tuna salads, but regular supermaket tuna in oil does fine. I first made this salad a long time ago with Progresso (yep, the soup company) brand tuna and daaaamn, was that good!
|This was the stuff on sale at my local supermarket. You can use whatever tuna you like, even sardines (I’ve done that before — it tastes great), as long as it is packed in oil.|
|If you can’t find oil-packed, you can use water-packed tuna. Drain the water-packed tuna well, and then add a teaspoon of good extra-virgin olive oil per can.|
|Drain the cans of tuna and place the tuna in a bowl.|
|If you have a persistent cat head-bonking you repeatedly and making terrorist threats, pay the ransom of a small piece of tuna.|
|I’ll come clean — I like using tuna salad as a clearinghouse for my onion/shallot/scallion odds and ends.|
|Here I have shallots, a quarter of a sweet onion, and one lone green onion.|
|A good ratio is a half-cup of onion-like-items per can of tuna. For bulb onions, sweet or red work best. I add at least one green onion as well.|
|Dice them up and add them to the tuna.|
|Finely dice enough celery to match the onion. That is, a half-cup per can of tuna.|
|Add the diced celery to the bowl.|
|Gently fold everything together. You don’t have to be very thorough. You’re breaking up the tuna into smaller chunks.|
|If you would like a healthier subsitute for mayonnaise, I hear using sour cream for part of the mayonnaise does a good job. I wouldn’t know since I don’t give a damn about my health…|
|Add mayonnaise until the texture is almost to your liking. I add it sparingly as you can always add more later. I end up using anywhere between 1/4 to 1/2 cup for both cans of tuna.|
|I happen to like cilantro. A lot. If you don’t, feel free to omit it or substitute with a parsley of your choice. I add a packed quarter cup of cilantro leaves per can of tuna.|
|Here, I picked off the leaves only since the stems were very tough. If you have more tender cilantro, you can chop up the stems and add those, too.|
|I kept the leaves whole to preserve the flavor, but for ease of mixing, you can chop up the leaves or slice them thinly. Cilantro loses its flavor quickly after being cut so if you are slicing your leaves, serve the salad as soon as possible.|
|Fold in the cilantro.|
|If the mixture feels a little dry right now, that’s fine. Don’t add more mayonnaise just yet.|
|I like to add one tablespoon each of capers, whole-grain dijon mustard, and spicy dijon mustard.|
|Mix everything well and taste. I find that I don’t need to add salt — the tuna has enough and the capers will add a little. Add more mustard or mayonnaise or anything else to taste. This is a fine time to add some grinds of black pepper, too.|
|The final thing I add is the juice of half a lime. The bright tartness is a great contrast and complement to the other flavors.|
Yay! Tuna salad! Taste your salad and adjust, adding whatever you feel needs to be added (cuz we all know it’s too late to take stuff out by now).
Put a big ol’ dollop between lettuce-lined bread with tomatoes for a nice sandwich. I like to eat it with lavash bread by folding spoonfuls of it between pieces, as if I were making little tacos. You can also serve it on lettuce leaves (romaine or butter) or endive. If your name is Timberly, you can eat this salad on Wasa crackers. 🙂 Or, you could just eat it with a spoon.
Other add-ins you might consider include:
- chopped cornichons or dill pickles
- sweet pickle relish (if that be your thang)
- chopped hard-boiled egg (if you want MOAR PROTEIN)
Serve your sandwiches/salad with iced tea and/or lemonade whilst sitting on a porch for maximum enjoyment. I eat mine sitting in a concrete courtyard on a busted lawn chair with a fly swatter to keep the packs of marauding cats away. It is not very classy, but it is still very enjoyable.
Two cans of tuna make enough salad for 2-4 sandwiches, depending on how generous you are feeling. I eat this with lavash or crostini and find that I get two meals out of it.
Please remember that you can adjust the ingredients to whatever amount you prefer — I’m only putting down the recipe that I like.
- 2 cans (5.5 ounces) of oil-packed tuna
- 1 cup diced sweet or red onion
- 1 green onion, sliced thin crosswise
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves (sliced thin — chiffonade — if you like)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons capers
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- juice of half a lime (about 1 to 2 teaspoons)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
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