The Covered Dish
By Debbie Dance Uhrig
What’s a morning without a good cup of coffee? This winter my husband, Ervin, was in the midst of a job change, so I got him hooked on enjoying a good cup of coffee each morning. Me, I’m a coffee hog, I get anxious if the pot drops down to low, fearing I won’t have that last cup. Now that he knows exactly how to make a good cup, he’s making the morning Joe! Then, I showed him the flavor bonus of using ‘real’ cream. Yep, I’m bringing him around my way…..
He then realized the value of purchasing heavy cream at a large discount, versus the regular grocery. The savings is as much as $3. a quart, for those who don’t have access to the big stores, etc. Also during this time period our son, Phillip, learned how superb scrambled eggs can be, when made with a bit of heavy cream. Oh yeah, the flavor is outstanding, and it doesn’t take much either.
OK, that’s my heavy cream tips for the week. Let’s talk about plain ole’, simple old, tuna salad. For years, and I mean years, I refused to make tuna salad at home and potlucks. I would ask friends how they prepared theirs, at the same time being embarrassed, considering what I do for a living. The easiest thing was to just not make it. For starters, 40 years ago, the tuna in a metal can, was not as loose and watery, as it has become, over the years. Tip #1, switch to Albacore Tuna. Still drain the cans well, the difference will be remarkable. I did some studying on pricing this week, thinking that Sam’s was the best source for cost. I found out I was wrong. One 5 ounce purchase can be obtained at Walmart, for around 1.38 per can. This was substantially lower than buying 8 cans together at Sam’s. Hmmmm. The quality from the Sam’s label, I might add, was a bit better.
Pickles, I grew up using our home canned pickles and chopping them myself.
I now use dill relish, very well drained, and the salad pulls together much nicer.
You can certainly use a sweet relish, but I have found the dill to be much more flattering against the tuna.
Eggs, our son, Phillip, truly dislikes hard-boiled eggs. He walks through the kitchen while I’m making the dish and voices his dis-approval. (For those who don’t know, Phillip has worked in food service since the age of 14.) He quickly states: ‘I’m not eating that.’ After the salad was made he tried it, and kindly said he was wrong! With eggs, I like to use the egg slicer to keep the salad looking uniform. Slice one way and then turn the egg and cut the opposite direction. This looks nice in egg salad too. Clean-up is a breeze.
On the spices I like to keep things simple, with just the pepper and dry dill. Once you try my recipe, you may want other things added. I grew up using a small amount of the actual pickle juice in the salad, WRONG! If you want soup, add the pickle juice! A little bit of celery is nice, ‘if’ it’s kept small in size.
Mayonnaise or salad dressing, I’m not going there. You do what you like. I used Hellman’s regular, on my test run, but to each their own. Too much, and it gets loosey goosey. I have found that ‘lite’ dressings aren’t quite as ‘tight’ as regular.
The amount of salad this recipe makes may seem like quite a bit, but I never have any problems. During Covid-19 there have been 3 of us, for 3 meals a day. It was actually a lifesaver having a large portion on hand.
Our neighbors recently moved to Texas, during their packing time I send tuna salad and homemade pimento cheese, accompanied with a bag of rye cocktail bread. You could also serve it with trimmed stalks of celery. Package in the little 2 oz. condiment cups with lids, which you can buy in the store. This means containers don’t have to be returned too. Great for lunch boxes and picnics, in this fashion.
Phillip, is now working at ‘What’s up Doc’, at the Port of Kimberling. This means taking a sandwich for lunch each day. This week alone, he took two tuna salad sandwiches.
Many of my regular readers will know what I’m about to say next: ‘With the cost of meat prices, it might be a good idea to use more fish.’ Just don’t overdo on the amounts. This week was really ‘weird’ on the red meat costs. It cost on the average, $1.75 to make one, 1/4 – 1/3 pound hamburger. On the flip side I had rib eyes on sale for 5.99 a pound. Go figure! And yes, there are now 6 rib eyes in the deep freeze.
With all the projects I’ve taken on these past 3-4 months I experienced my first flop yesterday. Actually I’m still trying to‘re-group’. I had just finished painting our front door, with all the trim work, when a thunderstorm, with hail arrived. The paint blistered and now I have triple the work ahead of me. Currently I’m trying to avoid the front door.
Now I’m on to gardening, in between rains I’m trying to get plants in the ground. It has been quite a challenge doing anything outside, here in the Ozarks.
The lake waters are great, but all the rains have made it a challenge locating ramps, that aren’t under water. One hour the sun shines, the next it’s a steady downpour. OK, enough grumping. Time to study the hour by hour weather.
Enjoy the short week and keep your head above water, ha! Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
7-9 large, hard boiled eggs
20 oz Albacore Tuna, well drained*
4 well drained tablespoons dill relish
3-4 small green onions, chopped fine
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon dry dill
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing**
While eggs are boiling; chop green onions. Drain boiling water from eggs after 10 minutes, shake in pan to crack, cool in cold water baths. In a large bowl place drained tuna, use a fork to break fish into flakes. Place chopped green onion and dill relish in bowl. Chop Eggs fine and add to bowl. Sprinkle pepper and dry dill over ingredients, stirring to blend. Add mayonnaise or salad dressing of choice. Stir into salad until everything is combined and smooth.
This recipe yields 3-4 cups of tuna salad. The end result will be a salad that makes into sandwiches and stays there! The bind should be fairly tight. Sometimes after adding the 1 cup of dressing it is tempting to stir in more, but don’t. You want to keep this salad fairly tight, not only with sandwiches but also stuffed tomatoes, tuna melts and other presentations. If the tuna and relish are not drained you end up with water pools.
Personalize your tuna salad with other spices or ingredients. For me, I like tuna salad made without lots of ‘foo foo’. When writing recipes decide what you want to ‘sing’ in the dish. I.E. The first time I wrote this rendition there were too many green onions and they ‘tried’ to take over, on the flavor division. With the current measurements the ‘tuna’ truly takes center stage.
*Albacore, in water was used.
**Hellman’s mayonnaise was implemented for testing.