This is the first time in years I’ve eaten tuna salad because I usually avoid both of it’s defining elements; canned tuna and mayonnaise. A “tuna salad” can be fresh and sophisticated if you use Italian-style tuna packed in olive oil, and toss it in a bright vinaigrette. Here, I layered flavorful Calabrian tuna with creamy black-eyed peas, crunchy fennel, baby celery and radishes. The result is a lip-smacking departure from the tuna salad we associate with decades past. Consider me a convert.
Italian Tuna Salad with Black-Eyed Peas, Baby Celery, Radish & Fennel
serves 2 -4
5 oz tin high-quality tuna packed in olive oil, drained and patted dry
1 15-oz can black-eyed peas (or cannellini beans) rinsed, drained & dried
1 bunch baby celery with leaves (or 2 celery stalks), finely chopped
5 radishes, sliced very thin
1/2 small fennel bulb, trimmed & cored, sliced very thin
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
6 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
handful Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
2 tblsp capers, rinsed, dried, roughly chopped
1 shallot, minced
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1. In the bottom of a large mixing bowl, make the vinaigrette. Combine lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. In a slow, steady stream, use a fork to whisk in the olive oil. Add the chopped parsley, capers and shallots and combine. Add the tuna, beans, fennel, celery and radishes and toss well. Taste for salt and pepper and season again. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and serve.