Ken Norris, the chef-owner the new Riffle NW in Portland, Oregon inspires a tuna salad sidestep away from white bread and toward a fork. He poaches fresh albacore tuna (yellowfin works too) before blending some of the cooked tuna into a sherry-vinegar aioli. The tuna is then tossed with green beans, fresh baby greens and quick-pickled shallots and topped with toasted panko breadcrumbs for a salad that’s a modern homage to tuna-fish sandwiches of yesteryear.
Albacore Tuna Salad
Recipe adapted from Ken Norris, Riffle NW, Portland, OR
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Cook Time: 15 minutes
½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup kosher salt plus extra for cooking green beans and seasoning salad
½ cup water
5 shallots, thinly sliced crosswise
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
1 pound albacore tuna (or yellowfin tuna)
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups mixed baby greens
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, add the panko and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the red wine vinegar, sugar, ¼ cup of the salt and water and bring to a boil. Place the shallots in a medium bowl and pour the liquid over the shallots. Set aside for 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight. Strain the shallots and reserve.
3. Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the green beans. Blanch for 30 seconds and use a slotted spoon to remove the beans and place into the bowl of ice water. Strain when the beans are completely cooled.
4. In a large saucepan, add the tuna and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a strong simmer; as soon as liquid comes to a simmer, remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 15 minutes.
5. In a blender, combine the mayonnaise and sherry vinegar. Add one-quarter of the poached tuna and blend to emulsify the tuna into the mayonnaise mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Flake the remaining tuna into bite-size pieces. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flaked tuna, pickled shallots, green beans and mixed greens. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, divide among plates, sprinkle with toasted panko and serve.