When I say tuna salad, do you think: Tuna, mayonnaise and some diced pickles served up on two slices of bread? Maybe a hard boiled egg if you are feeling fancy? Well, that’s not the type of tuna salad we are going to talk about today. You are in for a real treat!
We’ve been eating a whole lot of salads over the past couple of weeks since it’s been so miserably hot outside. I step into the kitchen and have a tough time cooking large meals that require me use the stove or oven for long periods of time. But after several days in a row of just eating salads for dinner, I grew tired of the thought of more greens. And so I pulled out my tattered and torn copy of Food & Wine magazine (September 2007) to find some inspiration. I stumbled onto the well-worn page with the recipe for cappon magro (aka Tuna, Olive and Bread Salad). It’s an easy dish to make and even easier to clean up! Makes for the perfect fancy summer tuna salad.
We recently returned from the Ligurian Coast in Italy where this recipe has its roots. Admittedly, I forgot all about making it over the past couple of summers while I was visiting that particular region. I wish now that I would have kept an eye out for it in restaurants while there to compare the differences between the way I make it and the way they serve it in Italy. Apparently, from the research that I’ve done, the version that I make is completely different from what they serve there. Oh well…. just incentive to go again!
The original recipe calls for anchovies, but I have always left those out. I have played around with some of the other ingredients in the past if I don’t have a particular item on hand and it always turns out good. I also use more garlic than the recipe calls for because it adds a spiciness to the dish. Word of warning: Wear gloves when rubbing the clove on the bread so that your hands don’t smell like garlic for several days after preparing this dish!
One Loaf Italian Bread, cut into 8-10 thickly sliced pieces (the bread is one of the best parts so add more if you have plenty)
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Tablespoons Vinegar (red wine or balsamic diluted with a little salad vinegar if you don’t have red wine vinegar)
2 Tablespoons Water
1 Pound Diced Tomatoes (plum or cherry tomatoes work great)
1 Seedless Cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Scallion, thinly sliced (I also use green onions when I can’t get my hands on scallions)
1 Cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and halved
1/2 Cup Torn Basil Leaves
1 Tablespoon Chopped Oregano
1 Tablespoon Capers, drained (I put a little extra in because I love capers)
2 Cans of Tuna- Central Market Yellowfin packed in Olive Oil or Albacore are the better options
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Fresh Pepper to taste
Place the bread slices in the broiler and toast on both sides. Combine the water and vinegar in a small bowl, set aside. Once the bread has cooled, rub with garlic (I rub it on both sides), sprinkle with the vinegar/ water mixture until it is well-moistened. Let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
Place all other ingredients into a large bowl, tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and toss well.