Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gloria's Mexicali Tuna Salad

This simple yet full-flavored chunky tuna salad is sure to wake up tired taste buds without burning your mouth or breaking your wallet. It's inspired by California's "fresh-Mex" cuisine (hence the name), and you control how spicy to make it by your choice of chili pepper. I used a relatively mild Pasilla chili in the salad shown in the photo, but feel free to go with a jalapeno, habanero, serrano or other hotter pepper. The mayonnaise and avocado help mitigate the heat so even when you use a hotter variety of chile pepper, my Mexicali Tuna Salad won't get too hot.

I usually serve this salad on a simple bed of lettuce, but it's fantastic in pita sandwiches, wraps, and regular ol' sliced-bread sandwiches. You can also enjoy it as a chunky dip for raw celery, carrot sticks, endive and similar crudites, or with crackers as a snack.  The following recipe makes enough for two to four servings.

1 10oz-12oz can tuna packed in water, drained & flaked
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup seeded & diced chili pepper of your choice
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1 or 2 cloves finely minced garlic
1 tsp. chili powder (preferably Mexican chili powder)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 small avocado, cubed

Mix together all ingredients, except avocado, in a bowl. Gently fold in the avocado -- a silicone spatula works well for this. Taste for balance and season with additional chili powder if desired, or with salt and/or pepper.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you want to add a little bit of tangy heat to this salad, add a few drops or splashes of a good Mexican hot sauce like Bufalo Hot Sauce or Cholula. And if you're a fan of cilantro, you can add a little bit of chopped fresh cilantro to the mix, too. I would have done so, except I didn't have any at the time.

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