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Upgrading the Classic Tuna Salad

Posted Feb 11 2013 10:21am

Tuna Salad with Capers & Pickles

Want a tastier, healthier substitute for commercial mayo? Try using plain whole-milk Greek yogurt whenever you’d normally reach for the mayo. If you want to give it even more of that mayo-like tang, just stir a squirt of fresh lemon juice and a small spoonful of mustard into the yogurt. The result? A full-flavored, creamy, and probiotic version of your favorite mayo-turned-yogurt-slathered dishes.

I’ve used that Greek yogurt trick to remake classic tuna salad into an upgraded version of its former self. And instead of pre-made relish (which is usually sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup), I chopped up a dill pickle and tossed in some capers. Both offer a slightly briny and entirely savory kick.

I also included hard-boiled eggs, although rather than coarsely chopping them, I pressed them through a sieve. (Pushing them through a ricer would be even easier, but I don’t have a ricer.) When you do that, you wind up with very fluffy, fine bits of egg. They blend into the dish so well that they transform that Greek yogurt into even tastier version of mayo…which is, of course, an egg-based sauce. Sieving/ricing hard-boiled eggs is simple way of adding a cooked egginess to any sauce you like since the finely shredded eggs just about disappear into whatever you add them to. Or if you want a completely smooth upgraded mayo, you can run the yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, and hard-boiled egg through a food processor. Simple and delicious!

Tuna Salad with Capers & Pickles
Serves 2. Double or triple the recipe as you like.

2 servings whole-grain pasta of your choice (I used gluten-free corkscrews made of amaranth, quinoa, and brown rice)
2 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
1/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt (low-fat yogurt lacks the flavor, mouthfeel, sateity, protein, and usefulness of whole-milk yogurt, not to mention that it makes no sense to pay someone to water down your dairy products — you can do that yoruself if you’re so inclined)
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice OR to taste
1 tsp. red wine vinegar (optional, but pairs nicely with the lemon juice)
Pinch sea salt
Sprinkling of dill
Spoonful of drained capers
1 large dill pickle, minced
5 oz. can of tuna, water pressed out

Prepare the pasta according to package directions and drain well. Place eggs in a medium pot and cover completely with water. Bring to a boil uncovered. As soon as the water boils, reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain promptly. Refill the pot with cold water to cool the eggs down — peeling hot eggs can be painful! As soon as the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel them and let them sit to cool even more while you prepare the rest of the dish. (Pressing hot eggs through a sieve is even more painful than peeling them!)

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt with the lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and dill. Add capers, pickles, tuna, and drained pasta. Toss well. Press the eggs through a sieve or ricer, letting the fluffy bits fall right onto the tuna. (I prefer to use my fingers to press the eggs through, but some people like to use the back of a spoon to get those last little bits through.) Toss well and serve. Leftover salad can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.


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