BIG Grown-Up Salad

Today I walked by a cafe with some outdoor seating and watched as a server passed me with a salad that would make you drool. It had everything: avocado, tuna, romaine, tomatoes, and onions all piled into a mountain of veggieful goodness. Once I laid eyes on that masterpiece my decision was made. I simply HAD to have it! It was all I could do not to snatch the plate our of the server’s hands and run. However, at the time I was both in a rush and slightly low on funds, so instead of following my instincts, I vowed to make myself a copy cat salad for dinner. This is the result.

You should know that I am a firm believer that salads don’t have to be a skimpy meal. I think the average dinner thrown on a bed of lettuce makes for a mean salad and meal. I’m a big fan of the pile-everything-on-top method when it comes to salads. I get a certain amount of fulfilment seeing everything right there on top. So if you’re looking at this recipe thinking ‘nah, I’m way too hungry for that to fill me’ think again! The eggs, tuna, and avocado make the salad super satisfying. So satisfying in fact that I opted not to eat the chocolate brownie that is currently melting in my kitchen due to the extreme head Montreal was just hit with. And, as we all know, it takes a lot to turn down a brownie.

Also, if you have leftovers, this salad is great the next day between two pieces of bread as a sandwich.Dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic VERY finely chopped (use a food processor if you have one)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar (red wine would work too)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • pinch sugar or dash mirin
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

Salad:

  • 1 can tuna packed in water
  • 1 ripe avocado (if it’s not ripe, don’t bother, make some extra dressing instead)
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  1. Put a small pot with enough water to cover the eggs on to boil.
  2. Really finely chop the garlic and transfer to a small bowl or container. This what you’ll be making the salad dressing in. I like to go for a container so I can shake it to mix the dressing. The idea behind the fine chopping of the garlic is to infuse the dressing with delicious garlic flavour without getting any overpowering punches of flavour. If you have garlic infused oil in your pantry or fridge (I do!) you can use a tbsp of that instead.
  3. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, a couple grinds pepper, sash salt, pinch sugar (or a touch of mirin) and the dijon mustard.
  4. Shake baby shake!
  5. By now the water should be at a rolling boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the eggs. Lit the pot and allow to cook for 10 mins. After the 10 minutes are up, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs into a bowl of ice water. This will prevent that blue layer from forming between the egg yolk and white.
  6. As you are waiting for the eggs to cook, peel the potatoes and cut into bite sized pieces.
  7. Next really finely dice the onions. You don’t want a big taste of onion in the salad, you just want a nice hint in each bite.
  8. Open the can of tuna and drain out half the water. If you drain too much, the salad will be a touch dry :(
  9. In a bowl, mix the tuna with the onion and salad dressing and stir stir stir.
  10. By now the eggs should be all done and chilling in the ice water.
  11. Add a touch of salt to the water the eggs were cooking in and drop in the potatoes. Using the same pot = no waiting time for the water to boil and (more importantly) less dishes!
  12. As the eggs cool in the ice water, chop the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. I usually cut the tomato into eights and then slice each section in half.
  13. Peel the eggs and cut into quarters. See my All-American Potato Salad recipe for a great trick to peeling eggs.
  14. When the potatoes are almost done cooking (i.e. are about a minute away from being fork tender) add the corn to the pot. Allow to come to a boil again.
  15. Drain the potatoes and corn well in a colander then add to the tuna mixture and stir stir stir.
  16. Wash and chop the lettuce as desired. I like to cut each leaf in half along it’s spine then rip it into more mouthful-sized pieces.
  17. Now it’s time for salad assembly! First distribute the lettuce among two bowls. Next add the tomatoes and eggs along the edges of the bowl leaving a big space in the middle for the tuna mixture which you can now generously fill.
  18. Last but not least, dice the avocado and sprinkle along the top! The avocado is key here to keep the salad moist and rich. If you don’t have a ripe avocado (I know they are hard to come by) make some extra dressing to compensate. To dice it, I cut the avocado in half, remove the pit then make vertical and horizontal cuts in the flesh that don’t pierce the rind. This way you can just run a spoon between the flesh and the rind and cubes of avocado will fall out.
  19. EAT and enjoy :)
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