A reader wrote to ask for my mom’s tuna salad recipe (which I couldn’t help but mention in this description of Rose). Today, once again, a Quinn said, “there’s nothing in the house to eat.” Looking beyond the near-empty fridge, the crisper and pantry held a few secrets and about-to-go-sour ingredients. Surely, a tuna salad was well within reach. Remembering the mesh bag of avocado’s hanging on the book shelf sealed the deal. This actual tuna salad (excluding the “there’s-nothing-in-the-house-vegetables”) is my mom’s recipe except for one BIG secret, one even left out of the original recipe printed in Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys, Artisan Books, 2009. Drum roll please…
What made my mom’s tuna sandwich the best? When old enough to wonder how it was prepared, it dawned on me that we were NOT a Hellman’s household, rather Miracle Whip had my mother Rose under its spell. Seeing that it isn’t even billed as mayonnaise, rather as “salad dressing,” I’ve strived to emulate that miraculously whipped flavor without actually using it. So here’s my formula, in full Miracle Whip denial, of Rose’s recipe. You could also just use the Miracle Whip–it’s not like Rose was wrong over all these years.
- Drain and smash together two, 6-ounce cans of water-packed white tuna with a couple sliced scallions.
- Stir in a sliced celery stalk, squeeze of lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp each of salt and ground black pepper.
- Little by little fold in about 1/4 cup mayonnaise (or, if you must, Miracle Whip).
- Optional add-ins: hot sauce, chopped pickles, olives, capers, fresh parsley or dill.
- Press the mixture on rye bread with sliced lettuce (or skip lettuce and melt over cheese) or serve on a fresh vegeatble, like avocado, tomato, or channeled half cucumber.