Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tuna Polynesian

My apologies for having been out of action for so long. I knew that with things heating up at my job, November would be a difficult month, but I didn’t realize it would be that difficult. It was easier than last year in one respect: In 2006 my Thanksgiving week featured a case of food poisoning on Monday, recovery on Tuesday, and the replacement of our gas stove on the Wednesday—except for the connection of the new stove to our gas supply, which despite being scheduled for Wednesday evening didn’t actually happen until Friday. As you can imagine, that made it (ahem) challenging to host our annual vegetarian Thanksgiving party. This year we were more fortunate. No food poisoning, a fully functioning stove, and a truly delicious vegetarian celebration.

But we are not here to talk about good food. We are here to talk about things like tuna and pineapple in mayonnaise. As I write up this recipe I feel like I’m making a sudden change of plan. In the Dole pineapple cookbook in which this recipe appears, The Thatched Kitchen, Tuna Polynesian follows two molded salads and appears opposite a large photo of a rather pretty mold, “Ruby Borscht Salad.” (I have never had borscht, but for a negative view see this Bateman365 animation; note there is adult language.) Anyway, because of this context I have been laboring under the impression that Tuna Polynesian is a molded salad, and so I was relieved to see that it is not. To my mind, tuna and pineapple in mayonnaise is just a tad less spectacularly bad than tuna and pineapple in gelatin. My distaste comes from the fact that I really, really hate canned tuna. I like tuna in sushi; I’m not sure why I’m so picky about canned tuna. Maybe because when you grow up in Indiana you so often encounter it in gloppy mayonnaise mixtures or in starchy baked casseroles, which don’t do the stuff justice. Assuming there is justice to be done.

Also, the idea of using the pineapple syrup to rehydrate the dried onion makes me cringe.

Tuna Polynesian
1 can (1 lb. 4 oz) Dole Pineapple Chunks
2 cans (7 oz. ea.) solid packed tuna
1 cup diagonally sliced celery
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup dairy sour cream
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
crisp salad greens

Drain pineapple, reserving 2 tablespoons syrup. Drain tuna well. Chunk tuna; combine with pineapple in a deep bowl. Add celery. Allow onions to stand in reserved pineapple syrup until rehydrated. Blend mayonnaise, sour cream, curry powder and seasoned salt. Stir in onion. Pour over tuna tossing to combine. Spoon onto crisp salad greens to serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From The Thatched Kitchen: Harvest & Holiday Cookbook. Honolulu: Castle & Cooke, 1972.