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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tunafish is Sacred

(Andy Warhol, Detail Magazine)

Am I wrong? Be it brand, preparation, mayo or mustard...people are adamant that their tuna is the best tuna. At least in the Rosen family. We were raised on one brand, and one brand only. Bumblebee Solid White in water. There is no other tuna that has ever been prepared by a member of our family (I'm fairly certain of this.) Prepared with light mayo (meaning a little bit, but preferably light in fat as well) and nothing else. If served on a toasted lender's bagel, with the option to put potato chips on the sandwich, one got major bonus points. We were the family that asked, at all restaurants/diners/etc, if the tuna salad had any celery in it. God help the people at the Athena or Barclay Heights Diner who answered yes.

As I got older, and began to understand that mayo was not one of my favorite things in the world (I've slightly warmed up to it, but only sometimes) I started using balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. I can remember standing in my parent's kitchen, making the tuna, talking like Julia Child. *Cue Voiceover: "First, you open the can, then you drain the water from the can. Make sure you..." you get the picture. But still, always Bumblebee Solid White in water.

Fast forward several years. J and I are in our home, and he drops a massive bomb on me. Actually, several. He doesn't really like Bumblebee. He actually prefers tuna in...oil? ICK! Not only that, but the way he prepared said oily non-bumblebee tuna was almost too much for me at the time. A "healthy" dose of mayo (which has become Olive Oil mayo, thank god!) old bay, salt, pepper, dried dill, celery seed and dill relish. This was long before my culinary revolution had really taken hold, and I was...basically grossed out. (You should have seen brother Eric's face the first time HE saw it. He's still upholding the Rosen purity of tuna.)

But then, over time, I started taking bigger and bigger bites of J's less than plain tuna. And honestly? It's good. I've already told you my man is the Sandwich King, so why should this surprise anyone. And if it weren't for the caloric worrying, I might actually use the tuna in oil--it's great to cook with!

While I don't tend to make my own tuna his way I have taken some serious cues from J. I stick with my vinegar and mustard, but add in a smidge of the mayo, some celery if time permits, maybe a shallot. I definitely season it, sometimes add garlic, often add the tiniest bit of Old Bay.

And trust me. The dill pickle relish? Works every freaking time.

1 comment:

  1. Jill -
    This is a GREAT post, and fun to read. Your writing keeps getting better...thanks so much!