As a small child growing up in the Midwest, tuna was a familiar food on every table in our neighborhood. I loved my mother’s tuna salad on bread or saltines. In those days, people didn’t worry so much about fat. Most cans of “chunk light” tuna were packed in oil. Our family usually bought the “chunk light,” since albacore tuna was quite expensive and used for special occasions.
Imagine my surprise last week when I went to my local store and looked for “chunk light tuna packed in oil.” There was a tiny section containing that familiar can from my childhood. It was on the bottom shelf and looked lonely. The shelves were filled with tuna packed in water. Much of it was albacore. Since tuna is a seldom eaten treat at our house, I bought the albacore tuna. If your family eats a lot of tuna, I would use the chunk light. It generally has a lower mercury level.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund, it is best to eat tuna responsibly, since it can contain mercury. Tuna is a fish that is at the top of the food chain, so the foods that it eats can concentrate mercury in the tuna’s flesh. The EDF website states that albacore tuna can contain more than three times the mercury level of the chunk light tuna. All of that being said, tuna is still a tasty filling for a sandwich!
Tuna Salad Recipe
2-5 ounce cans of tuna (I used chunk white albacore tuna in water.)
2 hard- boiled eggs-chilled and peeled (You may use up to 4 hard-boiled eggs.)
1/4 cup finely minced onions (Use sweet yellow onions or mild red onions.)
1/3 cup finely minced celery (I use the tender inner stalks and leaves.)
1/4-1/3 cup of sweet pickle relish (I use Claussen’s, but this time I made my own.)
1/3-1/2 cup mayonnaise
Open the cans of tuna and drain the liquid. Pour the tuna into a medium sized bowl. Apply pressure with a fork or spoon to pull the tuna apart, or crumble it with your hands. Use the large grater slots and grate the egg into the tuna. Add the chopped onions, celery and pickle relish. ( If you find that you are out of pickle relish, grate some dill pickle into a small bowl, using the large grater slots, and sprinkle the shreds with a tablespoon of sugar. Stir the sugar into the pickle shreds. Let the pickles and sugar stand while you are mixing the rest of the salad. Drain any pickle liquid off the shreds before mixing the pickle in. You need to press the excess liquid out.) Stir the mayonnaise in to bind the salad together. Refrigerate the tuna salad for at least an hour to allow the flavors to mix. Stir it before using, as it does tend to separate. Use the tuna salad within two days of making it.
*Spread a grilled hamburger bun with tuna salad for a sturdy sandwich.
*Grill two pieces of bread, like sour dough or an artisan whole grain bread, and spread one with tuna salad. Use the second piece to close the sandwich.
*Toast bread and serve the tuna salad open faced on one piece of toast. Add a leaf of lettuce for some color and crunch. If you want a more substantial sandwich, use a second piece of toast to close the sandwich
*Serve it in cool lettuce wraps for a low carb sandwich.
*Combine tuna salad, chopped tomatoes, and shredded lettuce. Then, wrap the mixture in a rice wrapper.
*For a more substantial wrap, pair tuna salad with a flour tortilla. Add chopped lettuce and tomato for a quick wrap. Chop some jalapeno peppers into the wrap for a bit of heat.
*Use your favorite crackers or cucumber rounds to make small open-faced sandwiches. Saltines and tuna salad are a classic combination!
Tuna salad is a delicious choice for a sandwich filling. It's easy to make. If you have hard-boiled eggs, it only takes about 15 minutes to chop and assemble the ingredients.
Enjoy your tuna, but learn about safety factors that should guide your responsible consumption of this fish. The Environmental Defense Fund has a fact sheet that can give you details. Just click on the link in the resource section at the end of this article.
Do you have a favorite way to use tuna in sandwiches? Tell us all about it in the BellaOnline Sandwiches Forum. While you are there, stop by the Sandwiches Name Game for some sandwich ideas. You are always welcome to play the game or to leave feedback!
Resource: EDF Mercury Alert: Is Canned Tuna Safe to Eat?: