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10 Big Mistakes Everyone Makes With Tuna Salad

Roughly chopped vegetables are probably deterring your tuna salad from tasting like it should, both in terms of flavor and texture. For a smoother and more balanced bite, finely chop veggies, like celery stalks and onions, and finish off with capers and pickles to create a base recipe.

Mistake #1

Balance out your tuna salad flavors with a dash of lemon juice or even lemon zest, as acidic ingredients work great with fish. Cook’s Country says a little bit of sugar is the secret ingredient to balancing a tuna salad, and you can also alternate sugar with sweet pickles and their brine.

Mistake #2

Steve Cook, head of the highly regarded Rooster deli and Zahav fine-dining establishment in Philadelphia, recommends using oil-packed tuna, because water-packed tuna can dry out your salad. Improve the mouthfeel with an oily fish like sardines, or try a fattier cut of tuna belly like ventresca.

Mistake #3

Herbs and spices add a lot of flavor to tuna salad, and Jonathan Hirshon of The Food Dictator recommends adding Schmaltz, or rendered chicken fat, and a little curry powder for a richer taste. Feel free to experiment with different combinations of herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, chives, and tarragon.

Mistake #4

Celebrity chefs like Ina Garten, Rachel Ray, and Emeril Lagasse never use cheap mayo or mayo substitutes; they use a clean and simple mayonnaise made with egg yolks, oil, and lemon juice or vinegar. Those who don’t like mayonnaise can substitute it with mashed avocado or yogurt.

Mistake #5