“I wander’d lonely as a cloud”

May 18, 2010 § 1 Comment

Homemade tuna salad

As you can imagine, in my last relationship, I was the self-appointed chef.  This was mostly a good thing all around: I got the pleasure of spending time in the kitchen doing what I love doing, with the added treat of having in mind my beloved, a fond eater generous with compliments; and E. enjoyed breakfast, coffees, and Indian and pasta treats joyfully prepared for her every day.  Sometimes, though, it made me snobby and her self-conscious in the kitchen.  More than one tiff resulted from my peering over her shoulder to make “helpful suggestions.”  It’s a shame, because I adored almost every dish, few due to her fears, she ever made for us: wonton soup, salmon chowder, breads, cookies, and the simple but amazing breakfast concoction of fresh yogurt, whole dried figs, flax seeds, chopped fruit and agave.

I’m thinking about this because yesterday, with some of that leftover homemade mayonnaise and a jar of pickled cornichons in the fridge, and a dusty can of tuna left behind in my studio by a previous resident, I decided to make, for the first time, a simple tuna salad — one of the last things E. made for us before I unexpectedly had to leave New York after the loveliest of summers.  Her parents were visiting us for the weekend, and I was trapped at the Park Slope Food Coop all morning, doing make-up shifts by hauling customer grocery carts to and from their cars, while E. and her family cavorted in the sunshine.  But when I was finally done, I joined them at Prospect Park, a short walk in from the beautiful Grand Army Plaza entrance, where the weekend farmers’ market was in full swing, and we lay in the grass, eating tuna salad with Wheat Thins.  It was so delicious — the dry, hard crack of the Thins, the cold mushiness of the tuna, the tangy crunch of the pickles, the company of some of my favorite people, in lovely, summertime Brooklyn, after a morning of manual labor for a good cause.

This is an awesome, filling, cooling, nutritious food, guys!  Summertime!  And not like you need a recipe for this, but here’s how I did it yesterday.

Tart Tuna Salad — The Eyeballer’s Recipe

  • one can of tuna in water
  • about three tablespoons of chopped pickles (cornichons, dill, whatever)
  • a tablespoon of capers, if you like
  • about two tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • a bit of mustard, if your mayo is store-bought and not as mustardy as it should be
  • a splash of lemon juice
  • salt, fresh-ground black pepper

1. Drain the water out of the tuna as best as you can.  I squeezed it out with a fork.
2. Add all the ingredients and mix.  That’s pretty much it.
3. I’m really feeling the sour flavors lately, so I also threw in a splash of the brine from the pickle jar.
4. If you like more crunch, you can throw in some finely chopped onions.  There’s no recipe per se!

**If you’re making sandwiches, try not to let them sit around too long as the tuna will make the bread soggy.  In any case, to balance all that mayo-creaminess and pickled sourness, you should line your bread with fresh veggies like romaine lettuce or firm tomato slices or maybe even alfalfa sprouts.

What also made my tuna salad sandwiches amazing was the beautiful pavé I bought in the market the day before. Super thick and chewy crust and pillowy but strong white bits.  I also had many slices with the (full!) jar of lavender honey aforementioned mysterious previous resident left behind.

Pavé from some Vauvert boulangerie where the lady didn't speak, she sang.

The other thing that’s worth mentioning, since it’s in the title of this post, is that during this writers’ residency, perhaps quite fittingly, I’m feeling a lot like William Wordsworth, going on long walks/runs/bike rides in secluded nature, where I’m the only person around for miles, and coming upon fields of wild flowers, like that poem of his, about daffodils.

Poppies.

Does anyone know the name of this flower?

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