I love a good tuna salad sandwich. Growing up, I used to make them all the time…a little chopped onion, celery, boiled egg, maybe some chopped pickle, and, of course, copious amounts of mayo. As I got older, my love affair with mayo waned considerably and because of this I tended to steer clear from tuna salad. That is, until my first trip to Pantelleria with my husband a few years ago. (you can check out my post on Pantelleria under The Road Less Travelled/Where To Visit).
Nearly every morning, we would motor down to the main village on our little moped to stop at our official hangout bar to have our mandatory second (or in my case third) coffee of the morning before heading out for a relaxing day on the sea. On this particularly morning, I wanted to pick up a couple of sandwiches for our picnic lunch. Since we are talking small island and small bar, our only sandwich choice was tuna. So, I bought a couple and tucked them into my bag not realizing that this simple little panino would forever change the way I saw tuna salad and was the inspiration for my own version.
The tuna salad sandwich for our picnic was brought together with olive oil and a little bit of lemon juice, instead of mayo, flecks of briny, black olives, a bit purple onion, and speckles of fresh oregano.
My version has the same base, olive oil and lemon juice, but I have jazzed it up a bit more. I like to use cherry tomatoes or even the little grape tomatoes because you can find them in the market year round and they always have a good flavor; even in December and January. I like to chop them up and put them directly into the tuna mixture. That way, you get a little tomato with every bite and frankly it is easier to eat. The salty or pickle component of the salad comes from the capers and the chopped black olives.
You can certainly add pickles if you don’t like (gasp!) capers or don’t have them on hand. The beauty of a recipe like this is that it is super flexible and you can add or omit whatever you want. If you don’t have celery, you can add some chopped cucumber and if you don’t have any green onions you can certainly add a little white or purple onion or omit it all together if onions aren’t your thing. I like to add a bit of oregano and some chopped fresh parsley to brighten it up a bit. Sometimes, if I am feeling indulgent, I will add a bit of chopped egg.
You can put this on any kind of bread – a roll or sliced, toasted or not toasted. It is even great as a snack with some crackers or you can lighten it up even more and serve it on a bed of greens. Whatever floats your boat.
- 2 cans of high quality canned tuna (packed in olive oil)
- 1 ½ Tablespoon salted capers, soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 to 3 spring onions, sliced
- ⅓ cup (40 grams) black Greek (brined) olives, pitted and chopped
- 15 (150 grams) cherry tomatoes, chopped into quarters
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl add the the tuna and flake it up. Add the chopped capers, celery, spring onions, olives, tomatoes, oregano, parsley and combine well.
- Next add the olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve on any style bread, with crackers or even on top of a bed of lettuce.