"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

I Did it Myself: Make-it-up Tuna Salad with Apples and Cranberries

by Julie on July 21, 2011

in Dinner, Minor Miracles

For a creative sort, I come up suspiciously blank on many occasions when I am called upon to think up a menu plan.  This Wednesday was one such day – friends coming in from out of town and the local concert in the park that night, I needed something easy but tasty and most of all — filling — for the evening. Not rocket science.

And yet I had nothing.

And then this: Impromptu tuna salad from Dorothy Reinhold’s increasingly-pertinent-to-my-life blog, Shockingly Delicious. Allegedly easy to make, crunchy, summer-y, and well, perfect.

Except…

Regular readers of this blog know full well I can’t do impromptu…although I admit in the feeblest of voices and with well downcast eyes that perhaps I am starting to get a little better with that. Still, I am notorious for taking the easiest of recipes, the ones that call for “a little of this and a pinch of that,” and bolloxing up the proportions and creating a sodden or lumpy mess.

So even though Dorothy promised this was idiot proof, I had my grave doubts. But what could I do?

You can see the real recipe here. But here’s how I riffed on it, since typically I didn’t have exact ingredients although I thought I did.

  • 2 cans good tuna in olive oil. Tonno brand was suggested, and since they had it at the fancy market I was at to get the “better than sex” cheese (Humboldt Fog), that’s what I used.  Expensive, but it makes the salad.
  • 1 apple, cored, skin left on and chopped. (A corer? Right. I just cut my apple up in quarters and went from there)
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • Half a red bell pepper, chopped as best you can. Go for medium dice, even though mine was more hack and mangle bits…
  • Handful of dried cranberries. The actual recipe calls for “craisins,” which I suppose are a hybrid of raisins and cranberries, but in fact I’ve never even heard of before.
  • Handful of cilantro, because that’s what I had in the garden. Chop it up a little.
  • Squirt of mustard (again, the recipe calls for Dijon, but I couldn’t find my jar of it. I think the kids used it for cooking experiments in the backyard after their cooking camp earlier this summer)
  • Big squeeze of lemon juice, about half a lemon. Again, I used a regular one because I didn’t have a Meyer. And again, it didn’t seem to matter.

Dump the tuna into a large bowl, oil and all. Add everything else and combine, using common sense to dictate how much of what you need. I can’t believe I even wrote that.

They can train monkeys to do all kinds of things. It’s not too terribly surprising that I would start to catch on to certain kitchen ways, right? Right?

By the way, I’m no photographer, either.

impromptu tuna salad with apples and veg

Looks aren't everything...

The result was very pleasing indeed. It was heartily consumed. And it tasted good even! Like tuna salad but with a nice sweet crunch of apple and snap of cranberry.

Go ahead and laugh all you people for whom this is elementary. Every time I make something that people like and actually eat, somewhere up in heaven an angel gets another beer.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Virginia July 22, 2011 at 4:37 am

I LOVE this kind of tuna salad! They sell something similar at Whole Foods and I always used to try and reproduce it when I was in Australia. The only thing close to cranberries you could get there were ‘craisins’. I think they are just dried cranberries, which look a little like raisins, so maybe that’s why the name? I never thought to use apples though–YUM! No craisins here in Brazil, though–boo!

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Dorothy at Shockinglydelicious July 22, 2011 at 7:09 am

I’m so glad they liked it! You did it exactly right — use what you have and don’t fret about slight differences. A couple of hints for next time, because I want you to pile success upon success… Craisins are simply a name brand of dried cranberries. I should change that in the recipe because it doesn’t matter what brand you use. You can hydrate them by putting them in a cup of boiling water and letting it sit while you chop the veggies. Drain and they are plump and ready. Put Dijon mustard on your shopping list right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Are you back? OK. It’s fine to use whatever mustard you have in the house (that regular French’s stuff that kids eat is OK, but Dijon is so much better. Just keep it stocked and you’ll use it. It improves everything you put it on. Regarding the apple, I probably should have said “core removed” instead of cored, if you think cored makes you think you need an apple corer, which you don’t. You did it great — quarter the thing, cut out the core from each piece, and chop that baby up. Done. I love your cilantro riff! I tend to put it in everything, so for me, using Italian parsley was a departure from my usual. More power to you that you are growing it, too! All righty, next up, since you are in a tuna and salad mood, I want you to try this salad of Tuna, Tomato, Bean and Basil. It’s fab and easy and delish! http://www.shockinglydelicious.com/tuna-tomato-bean-and-basil-salad-recipe/

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Julie July 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Dijon mustard on the TJ’s list, ma’am!
I’m trying the tuna, bean, tomato and basil one next…I have ALL of those things right now…stay tuned…

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