I love canned tuna fish salad. I adore its classic, humble simplicity. It always reminds me of my childhood and makes me reminiscent of those years growing up. Sitting poolside, in my polka-dot yellow and black (I’m a big girl now) two piece bathing suit, devouring tuna salad sandwiches as my best friend (Hey Kimmie!!) ate her other variety of sandwich, while adamantly telling me how gross tuna salad is.
Ahhhh memories! What I wouldn’t give to be a little chitlen again… with not a care in the world, no bills to pay, and an endless supply of tuna salad sandwiches prepared lovingly by my mother.
I happen to love canned tuna so much I gave myself mercury poisoning, when I went through my UBER healthy phase in college and was working out sometimes twice a day.
*Disclaimer: I no longer eat canned tuna fish that frequently. Lesson learned, the hard way.*As much as I love that old school tuna fish salad sandwich (or melt), it is not a dish that has any type of ‘Wow’ factor. I wanted to change that. And, I believe, I accomplished that mission with these. Yellow Fin Tuna Lettuce Wraps with Creamy Horseradish aioli. Filled with beautiful seared rare tuna, pine nuts, lemon zest, shredded purple cabbage, grated horseradish white cheddar, dill, chives and finished with a generous drizzle of aioli. It is To. Die. For.
The colors alone are vibrant, aesthetically pleasing and make you want to dive in. But, the taste is what knocks this out of the ball park. Ahhhhh-Maaaaayyyyy-Zzzziiiiiiinnnnnggggg!
You don’t have to serve the tuna in lettuce wraps, if you don’t want. You could eat this as a sandwich, or place a few scoops on top of a bed of lettuce. You could mix it with the horseradish aioli and eat it straight from the bowl in heaping forkfuls, shoveling it rapidly into that gaping garbage disposal known as your mouth (I did this after I had a few lettuce wraps).
And, you do not have to use horseradish white cheddar cheese, you can use plain white cheddar or substitute another variety all together. I just happened to see it in the gourmet cheese section and thought “Yahtzee! I totally MUST purchase you!”
So now that I have told you all these things you do NOT have to do, I am going to
demand tell you what you absolutely must do.Run, do not walk, to your car, drive at least 5 miles over the speed limit to your closest grocery store, grab a cart, and quickly chuck the ingredients NECESSARY into said cart (shoving other people out of the way optional). Purchase items, hustle it back to your car and your kitchen and make this. NOW.
But, first click the print button below and get the recipe. Enjoy!
- 8 oz . Fresh , Wild Caught Yellow Fin Tuna (can substitute Ahi or Sushi Grade Tuna Filet)
- Sea Salt and Pepper , to taste
- 1 1/2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup mayo (can substitute thick Greek Yogurt)
- 2 TBS Horseradish ‘Cream Style’ Sauce (can substitute ½ tsp grated horseradish)
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 clove of Garlic - minced
- 1 lemon – 1 tsp of the juice , plus the zest for garnish
- 1 TBS fresh Dill – chopped (plus more for garnish)
- 1 TBS chives – thinly sliced (plus more for garnish)
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper
- 1 stalk of Celery – finely chopped
- 1 small Shallot – finely chopped
- ¼ Horseradish White Cheddar Cheese – shredded (can substitute plain white cheddar cheese)
- ¼ cup Pine Nuts
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes , to taste
- Cracked pepper , to taste
- Salt , to taste
- Boston Bibb lettuce , for serving (optional, can substitute Romaine or Iceberg)
- Purple Cabbage , for serving - shredded
- In a small mixing bowl, combine ingredients for the sauce: Mayonnaise, horseradish, Dijon mustard, garlic, lemon juice, dill, chives and cracked black pepper to taste. Mix well to incorporate and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to marry. (optional: transfer sauce to a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag for piping) *will make a scant ½ cup of sauce*
- Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, for 3-5 minutes, or until golden in color, tossing or shaking pan periodically. Keep a close eye on them to keep them from burning. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Season both sides of the ahi tuna filet generously with sea salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet, cast iron if you have one, over medium high heat. Once pan is hot, drizzle olive oil into pan.
- Sear tuna until desired doneness, flipping once. I recommend no more than medium-rare, which will take about 1 ½ - 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness (mine took 1 ½ minutes per side to achieve Rare temperature). Remove from pan, set aside on a clean work surface and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Place celery, shallots, white cheddar, pine nuts and crushed red pepper into a medium sized mixing bowl. Toss to mix.
- Once tuna is cooled, cut into small cubes (or shred) and add it to mixing bowl. Stir, gently to combine.
- For the sauce: You can either add the sauce to the mixing bowl (I would start out adding half, mix gently, and keep adding sauce until desired consistency is achieved). Or, you can pipe the sauce on top of the wraps, as I have done.
- To assemble: Place one or two leaves of lettuce (depending on size) on a serving plate or platter. Add tuna and purple cabbage. Garnish with snipped chives, dill fronds, lemon zest and drizzle with creamy horseradish mayonnaise (if you did not already add it to the Tuna Salad).
- Serve! Enjoy!