It was extremely difficult to ward off Eugene, one of our cats, for long enough to get a picture of this salad. Every time I had everything set up just right, a little nose would poke into the picture, sniffing out the giant scoop of tuna with entitlement. I kept shooing him off of the counter and again he would jump up, just in time to get his curious little whiskers in the photo. My frustration built until it cracked into amusement at the realization that I was expecting a cat to be capable of human understanding and restraint at the sight of something fishy that came from the sound of a can opening. I imagine this encounter to be somewhat similar to how my father must have felt at my inability to sit still in church, solve my math homework, or to "be good" as a teenager. My father is an incredibly patient man with a wealth of experience that seemed to have a quieter voice than the booming demands of impulsiveness which drove most of my behavior throughout my young adult life. I had no more capability of listening to my fathers wisdom, it seemed, than Eugene has to resist the demands of tuna.
Parenting is the ultimate service, it is a thankless job. Your children charm you with their attractiveness, you give them everything, they grow up and begin to resist your gifts. As adults they are accustomed, it seems, to living without you.
Still whenever I need to, I can close my eyes and imagine my father's arms cradling around me.
I remember how it felt like magic when the humming of the car engine finally turned off, my head lifted off of the smooth door interior, and suddenly I was flying through the cool summer night. I remember the feel of his suit, and the smell: chap stick and office papers.
I remember when he would cut my fingernails I would feel the scratch of his whiskers tickling my cheek and I would laugh and laugh.
My brother and I used to wait eagerly for him to get home. Like koala bears we would latch onto his feet and ride down the hallway and up the stairs to bed. Or sometimes, after dinner, he would get out his guitar with the high heel shoe hole in it (actually I think he knocked it against the piano, but it looked like it had been smashed in by a high heeled shoe and it made for a better story), and play us some evening lullaby's.
This salad is for father's day.
Tuna fish is not necessarily my fathers favorite thing. In fact if I were making a salad for my dad it would probably have a lot more garlic, something grilled, a balsamic vinaigrette, perhaps some spicy mustard greens. I still plan on making what I imagine to be my father's salad, but today circumstances called for different plans. Tuna fish is more of an after golf, nothing else in the fridge, something to eat with potato chips and iced tea on a hot day-sort of a food. I made this recipe to be a little crunchy and a little spicy so that it is more reflective of my father on father's day.
Lemon mustard dressing:
in a cup, mix
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Grey Poupon mustard
Mix 10 oz tuna (in water, rinsed and drained) with two large scoops mayonnaise, 4 green onions (diced) 3 stalks celery, 1 Tbsp pickled ginger, 1-2 tsp Grey Poupon Dijon mustard. Taste and adjust.
Rinse and chop 1/2 head romaine lettuce. Add one bunch diced radishes, 3 stalks celery, 4 mini cucumbers, a sprinkle of chickpeas (if you want, I had some on hand so I did). Dress the salad with the dressing and top with tuna salad.
Christina's vote: "This salad made me feel like I was having lunch with royalty in Monaco"