Latin Twist: Tuna Salad with Spark


Mis queridos amigos, last Friday I wrote about my love affair with salads; this is a second part, and brings in another one of my favorite salads: tuna.  Part nostalgia (wrote about egg salad here a few weeks ago!), part ease of preparation, all flavor and versatility, tuna salad—with a Latin Twist—gives us busy folk a fun and fresh twist to an old standard. This, after all, is not my mother’s tuna salad (not that that’s bad! It’s just different!)…and I’m guessing it might not be your mom’s, either! 

Let me start by saying if I have the time, I would—in a perfect world—make my tuna salad with FRESH tuna. But, alas, just like all of you, I’m crazy busy (and okay, watching my pennies). Canned tuna,  more affordable, easy to keep and store—not to mention super fast to mix up—is a great food to keep on hand.

This was also made easier by having the roasted peppers ready!  And speaking of roasted peppers, this time I tried a different technique: Instead of standing over my gas stove with my pepper dangling from my tongs—or carefully poised on the burner—I put several in a pan (as in the picture), added oil and salt, and roasted them at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes (just turning them a couple of times). They not only filled my home with that lovely pepper-roasting fragrance, but also released a lovely oil that I then enjoyed dipping my crusty bread into. Wow.

But back to my tuna salad, as in the case of many salads, this one is quite flexible; you bring to it what you/your family and friends would enjoy. These days I’m enjoying different kinds of spark and, my friends, the nice thing about roasted jalapeño adds that without debilitating your taste buds. Besides, the other ingredients help to soften it a bit (of course you can always add more kick!).

Because I am leaning towards less bread and more toasted corn tortillas these days, I opted for serving my tuna in one. The soft-sweet toasted tortilla was perfectly balanced by my slightly-sparky tuna; I’ll be making this a lot this summer!  Please do let me know how you like it. ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!




About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!


  1. Arlen Gargagliano on

    Hello Dumpling Mama! Thanks for your comment–
    Roasted pepper (and fresh tuna!) give a different “twist” to the dish…one I hope you’ll enjoy! Keep me posted!

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