Change Up Your Tuna Salad Game With A Smoky Salmon Swap

Few foods are the reliable workhorse that tuna salad is. It's affordable, doesn't require any cooking to throw together, and gets lunch on the table in five minutes or less. Still, if you find yourself cracking open another can of tuna and feeling, well, a little bored, it's time to change up your tuna salad game. Allow us to introduce: salmon.

Salmon "tuna salad" is wicked popular amongst Alaskan foodies, many of whom have their own unique salmon salad family recipe. Some grocery stores in Alaska even sell pre-assembled versions of smoky salmon salad. 

According to the journalist, cook, and author Julia O'Malley, smoked salmon salad is the epicenter of the everyday Alaskan culinary scene. O'Malley tells Smithsonian, "If you're going to find a food that sits right at the center of how people eat here salmon made into a spread is eaten pretty much like across the state in all regions." 

Swapping out tuna for salmon doesn't require any other recipe changes, either. You can use your regular tuna salad recipe and impart instant smoky flavor in one easy swoop. Take a culinary cue from The Last Frontier and enjoy your smoked salmon salad on buttered white bread for a protein-packed lunch. Or, serve it on crackers or crostini slices as a cocktail hour snack. You could even spoon a heaping pile of that smoked salmon salad onto an everything bagel with salty capers and sliced red onion as a reimagined lox bagel. 

Cured, canned, or homemade salmon all do the trick

To make a knockout salmon salad, simply dice up celery, red onion, fresh dill, olive oil, salt, and pepper as you normally would for a tuna salad. If you want an added protein boost or nuclear bomb of umami flavor (and, really, why wouldn't you) opt for Kewpie mayo here. Its rich texture and egg-yolk-forward formula will complement that smoky, luxurious salmon for a total elevated upgrade.

You can use raw cured salmon, which is available packaged in the refrigerated meat aisle at many grocery stores. Sometimes these offerings are even pre-seasoned with cracked pepper or other spices like bagel-seasoned lox, which would add an even bolder flavor to your salmon salad. You could also use canned smoked salmon. For ambitious home cooks who choose to smoke their own salmon filets at home, the authority at the Alaskan Salmon Company recommends using King or Coho salmon due to their rich flavor, large size, and naturally higher oil content, which will keep the fish moist during the smoking process. Whatever route you choose, a smoky salmon swap is sure to liven up your standard tuna salad.