“…I wear tuna fish sandwich and I don’t smell like any other guy.”

Many people come to me and they say, "Hey, how can you be such a swinging sex god?" Well I tell you. It's not because I can make love up to one time a night. It's not because I say the things a woman wants to hear like, "Are you through yet?" It's because I know how to read a woman. If she is like a cat, I bring kitty litter. If she is like a dog, we do it on the paper. But I'm also a unique guy too. The kind of guy who likes to have his own special scent. Not to smell like every other guy. I like to have my own, individual odor. That's why I wear tuna fish sandwich. I put a tuna fish sandwich under each arm. Maybe one or two behind the ears. I don't smell like any other guy. And it's economical too because the smell lasts four or five days. —Steve Martin

I heard that bit sometime in the early 80s. You have to hear him do it in the "macho Latin lover" voice he does (couldn't find a video). The thing that was so great about Steve Martin doing standup was that he could do the most ridiculous off the wall stuff and get away with it.

...Now that we have Fat Bread to work with—and a nice PUFA profile, as it uses macadamia and coconut butters—tuna salad is a way more attractive thing to make from time to time.

IMG 1040
Fat Bread

So let's delve into the myriad ways to do tuna salad, as well as touch on the prickly issue of mayonnaise (virtually all commercial mayo is made with industrial vegetable/seed oils).

First, though, technically speaking, Fat Bread is not "Paleo," nor is mayonnaise. But who cares? The point is, we're using some of the best ingredients we can in order to get to a place where it's pretty much like the tuna fish sandwich you know and love, in a Paleo-ish context.

I've loved tuna salad ever since I can remember as a kid. In college and when I lived on my own for many years, it was a staple for me (better than PBJ any day). I don't actually have a recipe, per se, but rather, a number of ingredients I choose from, and I make it myriad ways. Here's pretty much everything I may source from to make a batch. When I make it, it's typically a 2-can batch (normal size).

First let's talk tuna. For store bought cans, I usually get the Trader Joe's white albacore packed in water. I believe Whole Foods or similar high end markets have good quality stuff. Otherwise, whatever it is, be it a major brand, it's whole white albacore, packed in water. You could also purchase tuna filets, poach or steam them, and make your own for salad.

The very best canned tuna I've ever had is High Seas Tuna. Simply amazing, but very pricey. These are all line caught tuna in shallow waters, so smaller fish, less mercury accumulation. Standard packing for canned tuna is to cook it once, pack it in water or oil, and cook again to seal the can. High seas packs raw (or smoked) with no added water or oil, and cooks it once in the can. You don't drain the juice in this tuna, it's that damn good. Actually, I don't even make tuna salad with this stuff. Just a bit of sea salt, lemon, drizzle of olive oil and that's it. Or I top a leafy green salad with it, dressed in olive oil and lemon.

Here's the list of ingredients I choose from when making a batch (I never use all of them; this all goes to different varieties).

  • Tuna
  • Mayonnaise
  • Yellow mustard
  • Chopped yellow onion (fine to medium, per preference)
  • Chopped celery (fine to medium, per preference)
  • Chopped dill pickle (fine to medium, per preference)
  • Dill pickle juice
  • Pickle relish (sweet or dill)
  • Dry dill weed
  • Garlic powder
  • Bacon bits
  • Bacon drippings
  • Yellow Indian curry powder

Here's the "classic" preparation, the one I use most.

Drain your 2 cans of tuna and squeeze the water out. Place it in your mixing bowl and using a whisk, pound and smash it down in order to break it up into a fine, dry mixture, as in the dried beef for pemmican. This increases the surface area for the flavors to blend.

Add all the ingredients: onion (medium chopped), dill pickle (medium chopped), a dash of the pickle juice, sprinkle of the dill weed, a couple of shakes of garlic powder, bacon bits (a drizzle of drippings if fresh cooked and you have on hand),  dollop of yellow mustard. In terms of quantities, it may be a half onion, 2 dill halves, 2-3 slices of bacon. But experiment.

Begin mixing and add your mayonnaise until you have a nice moist tuna salad.

IMG 1036
Tuna Salad

I like to use a rubber spatula to mix in the mayo so I can keep scraping the bowl and mix in all the dry ingredients. Then I like to pat it down firmly and let it cure in the fridge for 4-8 hours. It takes a while for the ingredients to blend. Be sure and mix it up well before eating.

In terms of variation, sometimes the celery, in place of or in addition to the pickle. Celery is great for the crunch, primarily. If I don't have dill pickles, then sweet or dill relish. Careful with the sweet. You don't want it to end up tasting like when some complete moron makes tuna salad from "Miracle Whip," the most disgusting stuff on earth.

My favorite variation is the classic above, but with the addition of about a teaspoon—or to taste—of the curry powder. This can be quite awesome in flavor. You might want to forego the bacon. Bacon is really the prime ingredient because it just gives it an irresistible flavor that really comes through. Doesn't taste like bacon, just barely; wonderful.

For a very quick & dirty: tuna, onion, pickle, garlic powder, yellow mustard. I usually do that when I want it "right now," and I don't wait for it to cure.

The mayo is the big problem because you use quite a lot of it and everything you can get in a jar at the store is pretty much crap. But some crap is worse than others. Before this Fat Bread came along, I'd been reduced to making maybe a couple of batches of tuna per year and so what the hell, I just got the 100% canola oil mayo from Trader Joe's. Canola has less N-6 PUFA than other oils. I'd go through maybe one jar per year and they would usually go past expiration before done. At that level, why bother? YMMV.

A great option is high-oleic sunflower oil. I can't recall the fat profile offhand, but I believe it's similar to olive oil at about 70% monounsaturated. It has a light taste, unlike olive. You can make mayo with olive oil, too, but a lot of people don't like. I've made a couple of batches with the oil from this selective bread variant of sunflower and it was delicious.

A third option is to make it with MCT Oil, which is 100% medium chain triglycerides, i.e., saturated fat. No PUFA. I haven't done this, but here's a recipe, courtesy of reader and commenter Dan Linehan.

MCT Mayonnaise

  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk (pastured is best)
  • 1 cup MCT oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 drops of stevia

Place all ingredients except the oil in a blender or food processor and blend/pulse until well blended. If you're using a blender slowly drizzle in the 1 cup of oil while blending until the mixture has thickened. If using a food processor with a feeding tube with a small drain hole, pour the oil into the tube to allow it to slowly drizzle in.

[There's lots of video on YouTube as to the process of making mayonnaise where you have to drizzle.]

...Have you seen yet how to make mayonnaise with an immersion or "stick" blender? I got one a while back and it's so useful for so many things (making protein smoothies, too). But mayonnaise is a cinch, because all ingredients go in from the start. Just be sure to be real patient at the beginning.

There's one more option I haven't tried, but want to. Ever heard of Rillettes? I just adore the duck and in fact, had some just a while back, imported from France. Rellettes, when at room temperature and the fat is soft, hase pretty much the same consistency as tuna salad. So, I'm thinking, get some rendered duck fat or leaf lard (white, no pork flavor) and simply let it get to room temp, and use it entirely in place of the tuna. I'm gonna try it.

Ok, your turn. Anyone have a favorite tuna recipe?

...Oh, yea, wait. I forgot the whole purpose. Fat Bread toasts up pretty nicely as well. I particularly like tuna on toast.

IMG 1037

That was one of the bread batches where I experimented with almond butter in place of the macadamia butter. That's why it's brown.

Comments

  1. I was gonna say, that looks surprisingly like almond butter bread! Lol. Your tuna recipe was worth the wait. I started becoming a tuna fanatic when I first had dill pickle in my tuna, so I’m glad to see yours has it as well! I don’t eat salt anymore, so I like to use cucumber and fresh dill now if I can get some. But if you served me that sandwich, I’d say fuck the salt and eat it all! It looks outstanding. Glad to see the food has replaced the fighting! Lol!

  2. You know, the one thing I’ve never posted is a tuna salad recipe. I must rectify that immediately.

    Did I ever thank you for the barbecue beef liver recipe? That was some good stuff.

  3. SAD re-enactment.
    Is Jimmy Moore in the house?

    • steve

      BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA

      Go bother someone else, please.

      • Rich,
        glad to see your sense of humor is still intact. ;-) The “please” thrown in at the end was particularly nice.

        I feel bad for Sadie. There she was with that smokin’ hot photo and she got overwhelmed by all the “events.”

        I think more photos of her are in order. ;-)

      • Ok, man. Any additional photos would need to be provided directly from Sadie to fan of Sadie.

      • ladysadie1 says:

        What “events” is he referring to?

      • I think he means subsequent posts that sucked all the air out of the room. It was a compliment.

      • ladysadie1 says:

        Interesting way to make a compliment. Oh, and this post and comment thread are making me hungry!

      • “glad to see your sense of humor is still intact. The “please” thrown in at the end was particularly nice.”

        And oh, now you make me regret not wishing you an ice day, too.

    • EatLessMoveMoore says:

      @ Steve,

      Don’t know about Jimbo, but I recall Kurt Harris saying something about candy cigarettes.

  4. I like more drama in my online salad.

  5. Dude- that sandwich looks awesome dude . . .

    maybe a touch of finely chopped red pepper

    and an Anchor Steam . . .with a side of oysters

  6. I don’t measure anything when I make tuna salad, and the ingredients list fluctuates, but here is an old staple:

    2 cans albacore white tuna (water)
    Celery
    semi-sweet apple (however much)
    Cumin/salt/pepper/garlic powder
    Some lemon juice
    Mayo
    Some jalapeños

    I think that’s it. I haven’t made it in about 2ish years, so I might be forgetting something. If I were in the kitchen making a batch it would probably come back to me if I were forgetting something.

    • I’ll give the jalapeños a try in an upcoming. Suggest you try the bacon bits.

      • Never thought to give bacon a try, but I surely will now.

        I love how cumin and apple pair with tuna salad. It’s not something you have to go heavy on, but it gives it a different flavor profile than you normally get with “traditional” tuna salad. I think the bacon will be a good addition.

        And I forgot caraway seeds. Love ‘em.

      • I can see how caraway would work. You Definitely want to to cure for a good number of hours though.

  7. Lute Nikoley says:

    OK, now you did it. I’ve got to bake another loaf of bread. Bread still doesn’t taste as good as the sheepherder bread I used to bake in a dutch oven.

  8. Galina L. says:

    I must make that bread some day. Great recipe. One cup of macadamias is not gonna kill my budget. Richard, I think using salmon instead of tuna in salad could be not bad as well.

    • I’ve done salmon salad, not a big fan, though perhaps there’s a recipe that would work. I’m thinking capers instead of pickles.

      • General Custer says:

        I can confirm +1 on the capers dude. I also like to run some finely cut anchovies through the mix. Not that it matters too much, but very finely chopped spanish/red onion works better than yellow for me.

      • Galina L. says:

        Probably, since salmon already tastes stronger than tuna, it should contain less taste-adding ingredients like pickles. I think in line adding just chopped green or sweet onion, small pieces of lemon with lemon jest, chopped hard-boiled egg, mayo, slightly uncooked carrot, some mustard

  9. So I finally got around to reading paloedrama on tumblr and, my friend, she obliterated you. True, she was dishonest, hypocritical, and hysterical. Still, she destroyed your credibility completely. If only she had not destroyed hers in the process. A Pyrrhic victory for sure but hers nonetheless.

    • Txomin

      Is is totally bizarre to me that you think I care what you think, even a little bit. What could possibly lead you to think that I’m like, hey, this anonymous coward thinks x? Or y, or the moon is made of green chese or whatever. Go read her blog, then.

      I mean really. Anyone and everyone who leads any kind of life out in the open for years and years is easy prey for crap like that. Happens all the time. Not to you, though, because you hide behind anonymity, do nothing integrated online that anyone’s aware of, etc. You’re a pussy.

      And why did you post this here on a food post and not the relevant post comment threads? Because you’re a little anonymous prick, that’s why.

      Go away. Go bother someone else. I’ll be here doing what I’ve always done, helping people with weight loss and health issues with sensible real food eating and nutritional density.

      Yawn.

      • You are not overreacting.

      • “You are not overreacting.”

        No, I’m not. That would be you.

        Have you any idea how this dustup—and it’s nothing more than that—and smear campaign (I defined that already, previous post) affects anything? Not a bit.

        Here, go Google my name. Tell me how many pages of results you have to click through before you even get a whiff of anything on that Tublr blog, or CarbSane for that matter.

        Essentially, this is just red meat for those who already hated me anyway and thank God I have plenty of people who hate me. That in itself is confirmation of great things.

        Who hates you, Txomin? Nobody? No surprise. You actually have to do some real good in the world to get people to hate you.

      • Demetrius Poliorcetes says:

        I give Richard credit for having sense enough to abandon this foolish, ill conceived venture.

        Still, what a complete and utter beatdown. One day, Richard’s blustering about “going nuclear and biochem.” The next, he’s running with his tail between his legs, having been forced to drink his own urine by a girl half his age.

        Pathetic.

      • Galina L. says:

        Come on, the best way to finish something what doesn’t make sense to be continue is to do it fast. You are giving Richard a credit, while trying to make him feel bad about not digging that hope deeper. And the age on the web doesn’t matter, or could be cut both ways.

      • Demetrius

        I just had a wonderful evening with friends who just left. Charitable mood.

        So, if I understand, and I do want to get this right…you’re dissapointed in me–pathetic, I thnk you said–because I decided not to pursue an “I’ll conceived notion?”

        That dissapoints you? Really, man?

  10. SteamboatOperator says:

    Jesus fuck me that sandwich looks tasty. Gotta give it a go this weekend and tear into it something fierce.

    • SO

      And if you check the nutrition of the bread, pretty damn nice. Basically macadamia, coconut, eggs. Comes to about 85% calories from fat, very little PUFA, n-6. It’s very filling.

      • Galina L. says:

        A genius recipe. You have all reasons to be proud of it. Probably I will use it for a top-stove stuffing for the Thanksgiving.

  11. “You don’t want it to end up tasting like when some complete moron makes tuna salad from “Miracle Whip,” the most disgusting stuff on earth.”

    Miracle Whip would be the condiment of choice in Hell, if Hell existed. What better way to torture than to serve Miracle Whip.

  12. ladysadie1 says:

    If you are a fan of sweet flavors (relish) in your tuna salad, you can use substitute finely chopped green grapes or kiwi instead.

    • Halved grapes work just fine, but it is a different experience. I also add toasted chopped almonds and thyme with grapes.

  13. I like diced apples when I’m using curry powder, maybe some raisins too. And I admit to using all kinds of cheats when it comes to replacing mayo, like Greek yogurt or sour cream or even a vinaigrette (but that doesn’t work if you want it in a sandwich). My kids always ask for capers in their tuna salad.

    And canned tuna is such a great blank canvas so I’ll occasionally use up some leftover cilantro, for example, and make it Mexican-inspired, along with lime juice in place of lemon, cumin & coriander, chopped jalapeno, maybe some tomato. Or Mediterranean, with black olives, lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes.

  14. Going to have to take this one step further and try out a fat bread tuna melt with a nice piece of cheese. And then there’s just the grilled cheese.

    Lived in Holland for a year, and my staple was the store made tuna salad on bread, god I’d kill for one of those right now.

    Been eating tuna salad straight up, I enjoy it that much.

    • “Lived in Holland for a year, and my staple was the store made tuna salad on bread, god I’d kill for one of those right now.”

      In France, it was jambon beurre, French style ham, unsalted butter, on a baguette.

      • I’d change it up from time to time with Filet Americain (steak tartare) or Smoked Salmon Salad but ended up getting the Tuna Salad more than anything.

        In my adult life I was the heaviest (fattest), at 235#, I’d ever been when I got there, and when I left I was the lightest I’d ever been, at 175#. I’d attribute that to the daily biking to/from work and just eating real food, instead of McDonalds literally everyday. Frikandel (fried sausage meat, maybe horse meat, who knows) or Croquettes (fried bread pretty much) with fries and mayo became weekly treats. :D Holland had the best mayonnaise too, and still prefer mayo on my fries over ketchup.

      • Yep, when I do indulge in fries, I always ask for mayo on the side.

  15. You’ve done it, Richard. I think I might have to make the fat bread in a tin so that I can make some damn amazing hamburgers (sous vide in marrow, of course).

  16. ladysadie1 says:

    Aw, you got me there. I asure you, it’s the bakeware that comes up, not the evil “muffin top” ;)

  17. ladysadie1 says:

    Did you find the baking pans? Seriously, I think they would work very well.

  18. Do the tuna selections you provided taste metallic? I love tuna, but then I end up not liking it because I taste metal. The pouches seem to better, but then there’s that old mercury problem. So what about the High Seas?

    And since I’m either being lazy or overworked – can you make the bread and offer them for sale? It does look awesome!

  19. When I was a kid I hated tuna salad, and refused to eat it for years. Then I discovered that it wasn’t tuna salad that I disliked, just the version my family made. MY tuna salad rocks!

    2 cans of tuna, drained (juice goes to the cat that wraps himself round my ankles whenever I open a can)
    diced vidalia onion
    garlicky dill pickle, chopped
    green olives, chopped coarsely
    fresh grated parmesan cheese
    fresh ground black pepper
    salt
    dash of white balsamic vinegar
    one to two tbsp sour cream (used to use mayo)

    Back when I ate wheat, I’d put this mixture over a thick layer of cream cheese on a toasted egg bagel. I’d pile it as high as it took to get all the tuna salad on top of the bagel slices.

    I’ll be making fat bread soon so that I can try this recipe with it, as well as creamed tuna on toast! And probably french toast, too… I’ve been hankering for french toast since I recently saw an 18th century recipe that used a sauce of dry sack (type of sherry) and butter for topping instead of syrup.

  20. Also, I’ve discovered that adding a bit of mustard powder really goes a long way to helping emulsify. I was making a salad dressing with walnut oil, white balsamic vinegar, and a dash of roasted sesame oil, and when I added the mustard powder I ended up with a substance much more mayo-like than dressing-like. It was tasty, too.

    • I simply have to do a video to demonstrate how to make a simple EVOO and Dijon vinegrette. Emulsification that won’t break for years. With a fork & bowl only.

      On my list. This dressing is a French staple for butter lettuce greens. In two years living there, never was served anything else. This whole kitchen sink in a salad is pedestrian, but I digress.

      • One of my favorite salads is romaine lettuce with a mashed avocado, salt, and pepper for dressing. MAYBE, a bit of grated onion.

  21. dopealope says:

    One minor quibble: the best canned/jarred tuna I’ve had Ortiz Bonito Del Norte in Olive oil. The stuff is incredible …

  22. Melissa’s new reason that Jimmy Moore must be shunned from Paleo™ⓇⒸ 2012 Melissa McEwen All Rights Reserved!!!!> — he is a Christian who doesn’t believe in evolution.

    Now, that might matter if Jimmy were an archaeologist evaluating Neanderthal coprolites. But he’s a podcaster. And though he’s interviewed anyone who’s anyone in the vertical (and even some who aren’t — like Melissa), he’s never presented himself as a scientist. And I think he makes a ton of sense as a guy hosting panel discussions, because (1) he’s NOT a scientist, so has no dog in the fight, (2) he’s already interviewed anyone who would be considered for a panel, and (3) has proven over many years that he is always respectful and interested in making everyone look as good as they’re capable of looking.

    For better or worse, he’s the Ryan Seacrest of Paleo. So he’s perfect to host a panel, where Melissa would be the worst possible choice imaginable.

    (BTW, It’s hilarious to listen to her interview w/Jimmy where she raves about Gary Taubes, and kisses Jimmy’s ass endlessly. http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/livin-la-vida-low-carb-show-episode-413-hunt-gather-love-paleo-blogger-melissa-mcewen) Melissa’s great until she turns on you.

    What is with Paleo and backstabbing? Jimmy did two separate HOURS with Kurt Harris, who now can’t get enough of backstabbing him.

    WTF?

  23. Goddammit, why did I check your page at this time of night…now I have to go fucking eat something!!

  24. I check in a couple times a week…I tend to skip the mile-long and rant posts. :)

  25. This is exactly how I make my tuna salad…it’s awesome with pickles and mustard!
    OMG, the stick blender worked like a charm making the mayo. I failed so badly trying to do the slow pour method. I finally made the bread last night…it is freaking awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  26. stephanie says:

    OMG… I was almost ready to pitch Paleo out the window and then I stumbled onto your Fat Bread recipe and shortly thereafter came to the MCT Oil Mayo recipe. You have saved me from going back to BAD eating. Bless you!!!! Keep up the great work :)

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  1. [...] Posts RSS ← “…I wear tuna fish sandwich and I don’t smell like any other guy.” [...]

  2. [...] my basic tuna salad that forms the basis of tons of variations I typically do on the fly, often not even knowing which [...]