Alton Brown's Tuna Salad Is Unconventional, Yet Beautiful

Sure, you can add in some spices, or swap the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt, but other than that, there are very few ways to enjoy tuna salad aside from stuffing it between two slices of bread. Alton Brown, however, seems to disagree. In an episode of "Good Eats" (via Food Network), the celebrity chef proved that tuna salad can take on an entirely different form.

For a recipe he called "Tuna Salad Undone," Brown prepared a version of the classic that uses no bread at all, but rather four leaves of butter lettuce. As opposed to combining the tuna with mayonnaise and relish, he opts for shallot, bell pepper, nonpareil capers, and hard boiled eggs. And instead of mixing those ingredients together, Brown layers them onto the lettuce, and to finish it all off, sprinkles on black lava sea salt and micro greens, then squeezes some lemon juice and olive oil over top. 

It may not be a sandwich, but Brown claims it's one of the best ways to eat tuna.

There's a specific tuna Alton Brown uses for his tuna salad

The unconventional ingredients aren't the only thing that makes Alton Brown's tuna salad unique. As the "Good Eats" host explained (via Food Network), it's actually the tuna that makes the biggest difference. For the recipe, Brown doesn't just use any canned tuna, but specifically ventresca canned tuna. This tuna meat comes from the belly of the fish, and though it's more expensive than the regular kind, the quality is much higher. La Cucina Italiana shares that ventresca tuna is a specialty in Sicilian cuisine because it's fattier, more tender, and has a sweet and sour taste.

Along with being served in pasta alla carrettiera, ventresca tuna is often paired with everything from spinach and raisins to pineapple and avocado. But black lava salt, according to Alton Brown, really takes the cake. Black lava salt consists of purified black lava and activated charcoal and has an earthy, salty flavor. Combined with ventresca tuna, it makes for a tuna salad that's as visually appealing as it is delicious.