SFC: Who Cares if I don’t use the Right Fish?

               I think Tuna Salad is usually a two way street; there are those few, few people who actually enjoy and look forward to eating it, and then there are the sensible rest of us which often cringe as a result of past memories. There are some grey area people of course, as there always are with ANY topic, in this case mostly composed of those particularly food-conscious people aware of what a properly balanced, quality mixed (preferably handmade) mayo sauce can create when combined with GOOD canned tuna.

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                Or other things; in this (my) case, some leftover baked Trout, which I needed to transform into something I could take to work (oh yeah, I’ve got more working hours now, so that may affect my future post rate btw). And that is a good sized slab of trout that deserves more than just reheating in a micro.

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                And overall, it’s quite the simple dish to put together, starting with simply combining the many ingredients for the mayo base. Whichever Mayonnaise you prefer (I would have made it myself, but with everything I’m adding to it its various qualities would just get covered up), some Sour Cream for fun, a good dollop of Dijon Mustard, minced Garlic, smashed and chopped Capers along with a bit of their “Juice,” a few drops of Worcestershire, seasoning of course, and plenty of Fresh Herbs (in this case, chives, which are so nice to finally have in the house).

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                We also need some form of acid, usually provided with a squirt of lemon or other citrus; but as I didn’t have any lemons, I substituted one of the fun vinegars in our fridge, a Fig Balsamic to help emphasize the worcestershire. Mix them all up, taste, and adjust balances based on personal taste.

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                Shred the Trout, Salmon, Tuna, or whatever Fish you’re using for the sandwich; I like differentiating between big and small chunks. Add to the dressing, mix thoroughly, and taste once again to make sure the balance works; I sorta found the sharp and intense flavors stay well like with the initial balance, but the subdued herbs, mayo, and other flavors that were in original balance need more adjustment.

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                We’re almost ready to sandwich this up, but we need one last element: Celery. It’s not a fish sandwich without celery; either diced into the mix or placed on top. I still sliced it in my favorite thin slivers as a garnish, along with the leaves of the celery. Which is a good thing to note if you haven’t used them, celery leaves offer a great opportunity for use in many applications, either in salads or as a replacement for parsley (I actually took the leftovers and chopped them fine to use as extra herbs in the rest of my trout salad afterwards).

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                Prepare your bread, in this case toasted, as only a proper “tuna” salad can be made with; I only used untoasted to pack it for lunch later on. Stuff it with your mix and any “garnishes” and enjoy.

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                And we have a properly created, edible version of the classic schoolyard horror. Rich and creamy dressing, some sharp flavors, thin and fresh snappy crunches from the celery, and aromatic herbs compliment a tender (but sorta dry… the person who cooked it overdid it a little… again), fatty fish. I think the only thing it could use for improvement would be a few chunks of quality pickles (which I forgot to put in! Agh!).

                Not sure if this post helps convince others to try this old cold fish application once more, but I figured I have to at least try. Besides, I already ate all of my sandwich filling so it’s your turn. I’ll see you all around once more in the coming weeks with some more recipes and recounting, enjoy your times spent until then. Good Luck and Good Eating.

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3 thoughts on “SFC: Who Cares if I don’t use the Right Fish?

  1. nice post, and i totally agree that most people are freaked out by tuna salad. yours looks absolutely delicious. i have to admit, i always prefer trout to tuna. it has that perfect texture that canned tuna can never quite pull off.

    my go-to principle for improving tuna salad recpie is to cut out all the mayo. i use lemon juice (just like you said), a whole diced avocado, and yogurt i have strained with a coffee filter. those secret ingredients mashed and combined with a little bit of soy sauce, minced fresh garlic, salt, chopped celery, and our good friend tuna make for quite the tasty (and healthy!) snack.

    • Oh yes (and sorry for not replying sooner, some reason I didn’t get a notification of the comment! Damn you wordpress!), gotta love keeping things fresh and simple when you get the good tuna, or any product. For some reason I’m reminded of a nicoise salad without the eggs and olives…
      Though of course you’re not completely ruling out all preserved Tuna (no arguing on the canned, except for a very very rare few circumstances I’m sure), Italy just has some amazing oil-covered products.
      With this talk of fish and salads though, I certainly must ask, living in Japan as you are now have you yet to find any other interesting and different fish, perhaps of white flesh, that are also fun to work with in these kinds of applications?

      • honestly, mahi mahi is huge here. i have caught one or two (i like to go fishing from time to time), and nothing quite beats the freshness of their meat. i can’t quite describe it. panfried hot for just a few minutes on either side (almost exactly like you would cook a really nice salmon or trout fillet) make for quite the dinner.

        scabbard fish, or tachiuo, is the big one. i had never had it before coming, but it is far and away one of the whitest of white fish i have ever had. they are absolutely delicious, but the structure and shape of the fish make them very hard to prepare. i’ve had them as a sort of sashimi salad: raw scabbard fish sliced into ribbons, fresh grated ginger, minced perilla leaf, and a little fresh wasabi root. it makes for quite the appetizer.

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