Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Avocado Tuna Salad

Ever since I was little, I've loved tuna salad sandwiches. Particularly grilled tuna salad sandwiches with gooey, melty cheese. Through college, my most-ordered lunch at the grille in Tarble was a tuna melt. In the 10+ intervening years I have reworked and refined my own personal tuna salad recipe.

The first addition was a teaspoon of soy sauce. Because, well, duh.
Then I started adding a pinch of dried dill.
When I had it on hand, a small clove of raw, minced garlic entered the fold.
Over time, I kept reducing and reducing the amount of mayo until I had a moist, flavorful cheap sandwich that I could make in minutes.

Then, a couple of days ago something happened.

I purchased an avocado.

That same day, I stumbled on this recipe from Cooking Light.

What???  NO mayo? Fresh tomato? Holy mother, this was going to happen...

The problem is, avocados are a bitch. There is nothing I like more than to come home from work, lugging a small amount of fresh ingredients, and make up a delicious meal. Avocado (at least, for those of us in the Northeast) completely snubs its nose at this plan. This particular avocado took 3 days to ripen. It probably would have been even better tomorrow or the next day, but I just couldn't wait.
Now, you'll notice that this recipe and what I've made aren't exactly alike. Let me list the adjustments that I made based on what I had on hand.
  1. I did not have a can of "solid white tuna" on hand. That stuff's expensive. Standard, cheap chunk light tuna was gonna have to do.
  2. I did not have cherry tomatoes. I had a can of diced tomatoes. I let these drain in a fine mesh sieve and added a couple spoonfuls to the tuna salad instead.
  3. Vidalia onions were on sale this week. So, I finely minced a single tablespoon of one of these rather than buy a shallot.
  4. Instead of adding 1//4 tsp of salt, I added about a half teaspoon of soy sauce (I just couldn't help myself)
  5. After tossing the avocado in the lemon juice, I sprinkled it with some kosher salt and then drained off the excess lemon juice. (I love lemon... I just don't love a LOT of lemon)
  6. Open-faced french bread sandwiches make a beautiful presentation. However, I still had a couple of slices of English Toasting Bread that I needed to use up before it got too stale or (gasp!) moldy. So, instead of using the broiler, I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich and then filled it with the tuna salad.
  7. Cheese is expensive. As I already had a block of Vermont sharp cheddar in the refrigerator, I wasn't about to pay $7.99/lb for swiss cheese.
You may notice that I don't have any ranch dressing to dip my carrot sticks into as the recipe suggests. I found that with the cold salad on the hot grilled cheese sandwich, I had plenty to dip into after each bite...
This tuna salad will not take the place of my favorite, easy tuna salad recipe... unless I have a ripe avocado on hand.

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