Friday, June 02, 2006

North Central African Tuna Fish Salad for the American Masses

The tuna fish salad preparation pictured above is more to my liking than any other tuna fish salad I've ever tasted. It has all the ingredients for a great one-dish meal, particularly when the weather's hot like right now here in Baltimore. Our source is a 1973 cookbook compiled by Myra Waldo of recipes shared with her by Pan-Am agents from the more than 80 different countries and territories once served by that former airline. Waldo chose recipes for which the ingredients were readily available then in the U.S., converted the measurements to normal U.S. usage, and undoubtedly otherwise "tweaked" enough to attract as many U.S. readers as possible.

Needless to say this may not be exactly what the natives prepare at whatever the North or Central African point of origin. Surely they influenced it, however, and I would challenge anyone here or there to come up with a tuna salad as unique and delicious. Why didn't Unique Culinary Adventures do some tweaking of its own and change the main ingredient from canned tuna to fresh tuna? I couldn't bear to overcook fresh tuna to the extent necessary for it to work in this kind of a salad. Rest assured that Bumblebee Solid White Albacore will do just fine.


3 green bell peppers
3 tomatoes, peeled and cubed
10 scallions, including green part, thinly sliced
2 7-ounce cans of tuna, drained and flaked
3 hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 tablespoon capers
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 drops hot sauce

Broil the peppers as close to the source of heat as possible, using a long-handled fork, turning the peppers until all sides are browned. Peel off the skin and cut the peppers into narrow julienne strips. In a large bowl, toss together the peppers, tomatoes, scallions, tuna fish, eggs, parsley, and capers. Mix together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Pour over the salad and toss lightly. Chill for 30 minutes. Toss again before serving as a first course or luncheon dish. Serves 4-6

From The Complete Round-the-World Cookbook, Myra Waldo, Doubleday&Company, Inc., New York, 1973