Deli Tuna Salad


A long run early in the morning is the perfect time to think – I just let my mind wander, and most of the time either a song gets stuck in my head or I start thinking about recipes.  On a particularly beatuiful run along the river the other day, I found my thoughts occupied by tuna salad.  But not just any tuna salad; this one is special.

I spent one summer in college working at a deli making sandwiches. It was a family-run place near the beach, and our customers were mostly people escaping the smoldering heat of the central valley for a weekend on the coast.  It wasn’t my dream job by any means, but it definitely had it’s perks. For one, the owner’s father made fresh mozzarella every morning and I will never again be satisfied with the bland, flavorless, rubbery mess that you find in the grocery store.   For another, I discovered a whole new way to make tuna salad. This may not seem terribly earth-shattering, but for someone who only ate tuna mixed with mayo and sweet relish, it was a delicious eye-opener.

So while I was running, I realized I needed to re-create the tuna salad that changed my opinion of canned fish.

It’s been a few years since I made this at the deli, so I don’t remember the exact recipe they used. I know it included capers, red onion, and olive oil, with no mayonaise in sight.   It’s like your average tuna salad’s more sophisticated (and healthy!) cousin.

2 6-oz cans solid white albacore in water, drained
1 tbsp chopped capers
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 rib celery, finely diced
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on crackers, in lettuce cups, or on sandwiches.

12 Responses to “Deli Tuna Salad”

  1. 1 Branny August 19, 2009 at 4:07 am

    Great pictures. I use running to develop recipes as well.

  2. 2 Marla August 19, 2009 at 5:01 am

    That looks great! I love tuna salad on crackers. I will be trying this for lunch one day here soon.

  3. 3 Cookie August 19, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I always come up with the best ideas while working out too! This sounds like the perfect summer picnic recipe since you won’t have to worry about the mayo going bad!

  4. 5 Erin Cottrell August 20, 2009 at 2:16 am

    That sounds really refreshing!

  5. 6 Jillian August 20, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Looks great. I adore tuna and crackers as a light summer lunch. This tuna salad looks extra tasty!

  6. 7 Emily August 20, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Love the pictures for these! They look great!

  7. 8 maris August 23, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Don’t you love thinking about food while exercising – happens to me all the time!

  8. 9 Bugaboo August 28, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Oh, what a fabulous way to liven up tuna! I’ll have to try soon — thanks!

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