Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tuna Salad with Apple, Pepper Jack and Red Onion

I first started to eat tuna salad when I lived with my Grandparents for a time after high school here in Colorado. I never really ate it before then except maybe a tuna melt or two at Carrows with my friend Jessica. The whole fish from a can thing creeped me out too much to be able to make it myself at home. However, if somebody else made it I could manage. That was lucky for me becuase at the time I was living with them, my Grandpa Grillo made tuna salad reguarly. Well, that and hot dogs that he would boil and wrap up in a lonely piece of bread. I didn't like those, unless I was absolutely starving, but let's get back to the tuna. I liked his tuna becuase he would put lots of vinegary, spicy inredients into it. I love vinegary, spicy ingredients. My Grandma made it too, but usually she would make it "old school" with diced onions and celery with fresh lemon juice, a little mayo and lawrys salt and pepper. She and my Grandpa both added in dill pickles whenever we had them and, let me tell you, that for me anyway, took it up another notch. Soon, when Grandpa would made his version he started to add diced dill pickels, and diced pickled jalapenos to the tuna along with fresh lemon juice, lawrys salt and just enough mayonnaise to bind it.

Heres a note: When you are around my Grandpa, make sure you really pronounce the word mayonnaise correctly. Most of the time, I would refer to it as "man-naise". As soon as you made the mistake, you knew it was coming. He would say "You know Krysta, it's not "man-naise" it's "May-o-naise". Yes, Grandpa, I know.

The tuna salad with the jalapenos and pickles was officially my favorite. We always ate it the same way. Either in a cold sandwich between two pieces of bread, or open faced, baked in the oven with cheese on top, otherwise known as a tuna melt. I had made tuna this same way for over 5 years when I went to my friend Melissas house one day.

She had made tuna salad. It was not prepared like the tuna salads I was used to, and furthermore she served hers with crackers instead of bread. It was surprisingly delicious and unlike anything I had ever seen before (which makes me snicker now. I must have been new to the possibilities of food). She had mixed the tuna with mayonaise, lemon juice, garlic salt, cubes of cheddar cheese, red onion and halved green grapes. I know, it sounds a little odd right? It was really good. She said she made it that way becuase her husband Shawn liked it and that was the way his mother made it. She said sometimes she used grapes and smetimes she used chopped apple. I liked the idea of the crunchiness of the apple.

Then, after a while I had tuna salad yet again at her house. This time with the apple instead of the grapes and pepper jack instead of cheddar. I had hit the mother load! This tuna was nothing short of awesome. The pepper jack brought in the spicy taste I so love, and the apple provided this beautiful sweetness that complimented the lemon juice and galric salt in lovely ways. I can't say for sure that It's my absolute favorite way to eat tuna becuase it just depend on the mood im in. But I can say that for the past year and a half, I have only made tuna this way and served it with water crackers, no bread. You just dip the crunchy cracker in and scoop out a heaping potion of tuna and bite. Oh, my gosh, you won't go back.

Tuna Salad with Apples, Pepper Jack and Red Onion

1 big can of solid white albacore tuna (or two smaller cans)
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonaise
a quarter of a red onion, chopped
1/2 of a big apple, chopped in cubes (or 1 whole smaller apple)
1 1/2 inches from a block of pepper jack cheese, cut into small bite sized cubes
garlic salt to taste
juice from half a lemon

Mix together and enjoy with thin water crackers (carrs cracked pepper are my fav)

Make sure you have solid white albacore and not chunk light. There is a huge difference. I can't even really eat this if it's not with solid white albacore. I like the Starkist brand. Cut all the ingredients in relatively same size. I make sure to add in a good amount of galric salt to this. I don't like it salty, but I like to be able to taste it. It brings all the other flavors together.

I just ate this last week with Melissa. Shawn says you can add some diced up pickled jalapenos to it if you want some more kick. Oh, yes Shawn. You don't have to tell me twice.