‘A Tuna Salad’ by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan
June 26, 2020
There’s tuna fish salad and there’s ‘Tuna Salad’. This is a ‘Tuna Salad’.
It’s a riff on the famous French ‘Salade Niçoise’ but with a Spanish flair. I use sherry vinegar in the
vinaigrette, green olives instead of black ‘Niçoise’ olives and slivered sugar snap peas in lieu of haricot
verts (baby green beans). This is about using ingredients that appeal to you and naturally work well
together. I made this grilled fresh tuna salad without the customary bed of lettuce; it seems like more
of a proper summer entrée this way!
- Prep: 1 hr
- Cook: 1 hr
- Yields: Serves: 4
½ pound small new potatoes, red or white
¼ pound snow peas
1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled (or use ¾ to 1 cup prepared roasted red peppers)
3-4 radishes, washed & dried
4 hard cooked eggs, peeled and cut into quarters
12 ‘Campari’ tomatoes, washed, dried and cut in half (FYI - ‘Campari tomatoes look like very large cherry
tomatoes. I find them to have better flavor and sifter skins than cherry tomatoes)
1/3 cup large green olives, cut into quarters
Optional: 2 large portabella mushroom caps, stems removed and wiped clean with a damp towel
1 pound fresh of fresh tuna or 12 ounces Spanish tuna preserved in olive oil
3-4 tablespoons olive oil for grilling
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh shallots, minced very finely
1 medium clove garlic, peeled & mashed to a paste
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Optional: ¼ teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup vegetable or grapeseed oil, plus more as needed
¼ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to your taste
Fresh cracked pepper
Begin by gathering and preparing the first list of ingredients.
Cook the potatoes in simmering salted water until just tender, drain, set aside on towel-lined plate to
Pull the ‘strings’ off each end of the snow pea. Cut each snow in half lengthwise. Put slivered snow peas
in a bowl and pour boiling water to cover. Stir for a second or two and quickly drain. Spread out on a
paper-towel lined plate to cool. (BTW, there’s no need to run them under cold water or bother with an
ice-bath. It’s a very small amount and spreading them out to cool will preserve their bright color.)
Grill a beautiful red bell pepper until it is quite charred and blackened all over. The aroma will be very
intoxicating! Let sit until cool enough to handle. Peel off all the charred skin and seeds. Slice into
strips. Reserve. (or use jarred roasted red peppers, just rinse them and pat them dry.)
Slice the radishes into circles as thinly as you can. Reserve.
Hard cook 4 large eggs. Rinse under cold water when finished cooking. (I have adopted the America’s
Test Kitchen’s method of hard-cooking eggs: I lower the eggs into boiling water and cook for EXACTLY 10
minutes. I use a slotted spoon to lower the eggs into the boiling water, gently, so they don’t crack.
At the end of 10 minutes, drain the pot and rinse the eggs under cold running water. Crack them allover
using the side of the sink or the pan. They will peel very easily. Cut each egg into quarters and set
Wash and dry the tomatoes. Cut each tomato in half or into quarters. Set aside.
Slice the green olives in half, length-wise and then into quarters. Set aside.
Season the fresh tuna, if using, with kosher salt and fresh pepper. Grill to your desired doneness and set
aside. Drain the canned tuna if using.
If using the mushrooms, rub them liberally with olive oil, season the caps with salt & pepper. Grill until
they are soft-tender. Remove to a plate to cool. Reserve juices, if any.
Make the vinaigrette
Add the finely chopped shallots and mashed garlic to the bottom of a bowl. Add the mustard, the
smoked paprika (if using), the sherry vinegar and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt. Whisk ingredients to
combine. Combine the two oils together and slowly drizzle the oils into the vinegar-mustard-shallot
mixture. Whisk continuously. You may or may not achieve a smooth emulsion. Don’t fret, just re-whisk
before drizzling the salad. Taste. Adjust seasoning with more salt and/or pepper or more vinegar if you
like a bit more acidic punch.
Choose a platter large enough to hold all your beautiful ingredients. I start with the potatoes and cut
them in half and distribute them on the bottom of the platter. Season with a pinch of salt and a twist of
the pepper mill. Drizzle the potatoes with a tablespoon of the dressing. Cut the grilled mushroom caps
across into strips (if using) and arrange on top of the potatoes. Add the red peppers, the snow peas
and the tomatoes next. Drizzle with more vinaigrette. Then the green olives and hard-cooked egg
quarters. Slice the tuna into large chunks and arrange on top, Scatter the top with the sliced radishes
and drizzle with more vinaigrette. Serve the rest of the dressing in a bowl alongside the salad.