Smoked Tuna Salad

Smoked Tuna salad
Smoked Tuna Salad

Last Thursday, I went to give a talk and a tasting with the staff of a famous restaurant in BlackLion, Co. Cavan… ( ok, if you must know, it was MacNean House), lovely people, beautiful place, amazing Cavan countryside on the way to Leitrim and Sligo, literately a stone throw with the Fermanagh border, Belcoo, or what the locals euphemistically call “The North”… You’ve got to love it! I enjoy doing these cheesy talks, but somehow I feel a certain anxiety and apprehension, I hide it well, I face it well but this leaves me in a paradoxical discomfort. To remedy this – at least for a while – I like to abandon myself, switch off and return to my first love, wildlife, nature, ornithology. The day before, superb sunshine out, I headed for Westmeath, Lough Derravaragh to be precise….

Lough Derravaragh
Lough Derravaragh

This time, it wasn’t birds I was after, even if I was open to the idea – I always am- but I had one of my hunches, I was looking for a Dragonfly, a Damsel Fly to be precise, the “Banded Demoiselle” that I like to call after its Latin name “Calopteryx”. The black dots on its wings makes it look like a butterfly when it flies, the female is a bright metal green, a magical display, always found near water; the conditions were perfect. As I approached the bridge over the Inny River, I thought “that it would be a good place to find a Kingfisher” and guess what, at that very moment, one flew under the bridge and found an old branch hanging over the river, too far for the camera, but perfect for my binoculars. The other side of the bridge was a little passage built by fishermen… My “Demoiselles” were there, as predicted and in all their glory. In the heat of the afternoon and after standing still for a while, one obliged and I felt privileged as I know how furtive and shy they can be… Thank you miss! Or in this case “sir”…

Calopteryx Splendens

I came home that evening, batteries recharged and full of summer memories from days gone by; I developed some serious munchies and this happy blast from the past triggered another one, cravings from my mother’s Tuna salad we used to bring at the beach… I opened a bottle of Rosé and got started on my own version, and this is how it went…

Franckie’s Smoked Tuna Salad

You’ll Need…

  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • a handful of mange tout
  • 150 g of hot smoked Tuna
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 100 g of aged basmati rice
  • a bunch of fresh tarragon
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp of good Dijon mustard
  • few small cubes of red pepper ( optional)
  • a small pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • a small pinch of real saffron

How To?

First, rinse and put the rice from cold in a pan with salted water, bring to the boil and let simmer then gently until cooked. Boil the eggs and cool when hard ( 10 minutes from boiling) Chop finely the skinny tarragon leaves and set aside; in a large bowl, place the tsp of mustard, keep stirring while pouring the olive oil until smooth, then add the tbsp of vinegar; throw in the chopped tarragon and mix well. The rice is drained? Put it first in the bowl, then the tomatoes halved, I sliced the mange tout quite finely, then a few small cubes of a red pepper and the pinch of Cayenne pepper and saffron. Add one of the eggs chopped and the other keep in segments for presentation. Stir gently, add the egg segments, a few whole leaves of tarragon and an extra few of the saffron pistils. Serve with slices of toasted rye sourdough bread, rubbed with fresh garlic and olive oil…

Smoked Tuna salad
Smoked Tuna Salad

And yes, my talk went well… 😉

Keep Well and Eat Happy,

Slán Tamall



13 thoughts on “Smoked Tuna Salad

  1. Will you marry me? Honestly, this is truest of true love. Shallow I know to base it on your ability to wow me with food that has me slobbering and drooling like a Bassett hound but tis so. And we could have a fly by of demoiselles which surely would be appropriate. But wait … I have a husband who I love. Damnit. Back to the drawing board and meanwhile I’m a-making this salad this very eve just because I need to!

    1. 😀 Haha… I laugh quite hard at your post ( and thank you by the way, it felt good); when I posted this pic on my FB page, I wrote: ” Tom Waits once said: ” warm beer and cold women, I just don’t fit in”… So I made this Tuna salad…”. Let me know how you get on, and thank you! 🙂

  2. I’ve just put a frozen pizza in the oven… 😦
    Life is not always fair!
    Mind you, I did also spy a Kingfisher the other day, and, I reckon, a Common Hawker, so at least nature is being kind, even if the culinary gods are scowling at me…

      1. I guess we need to hear this story so! Just back in the door from a run in the park and saw not one but two jays. Pizza was okay; salad helped… 😉

  3. Haaaa! Opening your post, truth be told, I was highly expecting for some tarragon in your recipe. Isn’t tuna and tarragon a combination you love ? I recall very well of your Tuna Brioche with tarragon Mayo (that I still have to try out by the way!!!). YOur recipe met my expectations, good job, lol.

      1. I do have a good memory (thank you), but I remember your dish because the harmony of the main picture struck me at that time, and I Pinterested your post and recipe too which gave me plenty of occasions to see it again and again 😉 Might want to try your advice in regards to my next vinaigrette on the Salade Niçoise, although my people will surely see me as a traitor, but okay, I guess I can survive that !

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