If you have a can or two of tuna in the pantry, you're only ever a few ingredients away from making tuna salad. It's a lunchtime go-to, and if you prep a bowl at the beginning of the week you can have it on salads, in a sandwich, or rolled up into a wrap so you'll never get bored. Tuna salad can be a little one-note, however, especially the stuff you can buy pre-made at the grocery store. The good news is, you don't have to settle for a ho-hum lunch as long as you have a jar of olives in the fridge. If you find yourself with a bland batch of tuna salad, add a spoonful of the olive brine to the bowl and give it a stir.
Olive brine is a super easy way to punch up any mayonnaise-based salad, but it's especially great with tuna because it'll add saltiness as well as a bit of vinegar tartness that will cut the fat of the mayonnaise and bring up the naturally tangy flavor of the tuna. It doesn't take much to get the benefits of olive brine in your tuna, and it's probably already hanging out in your refrigerator; all you have to do is give it a try.
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What Olive Brine Brings To The Table
The basic recipe for tuna salad is super easy. All you really need is tuna, mayonnaise, peeled celery, Dijon mustard, and some fresh herbs. There are tons of extra ingredients you can add to the mix, too, like fennel, hot sauce, curry powder, and more because tuna salad is a blank slate. If you want to make the flavor really pop, however, you need a splash of something vinegary. Mayonnaise is salty and fatty, so it needs some vinegar for balance. While you can, of course, just add any vinegar you have in your pantry, olive brine is a step up. It's a mixture of salt, vinegar, and water that has also taken on the pungent, meaty, umami flavor of olives. When it's paired up with tuna, it's a Mediterranean match made in heaven.
You don't need to be a chef to experiment with olive brine in your tuna salad, all you have to do is add a little bit to your next batch and see what you think. The flavor of the brine is very salty so add it sparingly at first and give your salad a taste. A half tablespoon should be more than enough for a cup of finished salad.
When To Add The Olive Brine
There's no wrong time to add olive brine to tuna salad, but if you're making a batch from scratch, you can add olive brine at a couple of different stages to really build flavor. Right after you drain your tuna, mix it with a tablespoon or so of olive brine and let it sit for five or ten minutes to marinate. Then, add the mayonnaise and other ingredients and give it a taste. If the salad needs a little more flavor at that point, you can add a bit more brine.
You don't have much of a choice as to when you can add olive brine to store-bought salad since it's already mixed, so just add it sparingly by the teaspoon to taste like you would salt and pepper and mix it together. Be sure to give your pre-made salad a taste before you add any brine so you don't overseason it or make the finished salad too salty.
Once you get the hang of using olive brine as a little secret weapon ingredient, reach for it anytime you want to jazz up a mayonnaise-based salad — or anything that could use a little salty, olive flavor.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.