Let good-quality canned tuna anchor this crunchy Mediterranean salad

 
By Ellie Krieger
Special To The Washington Post
Posted4/23/2019 9:14 PM
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  • Mediterranean Chopped Salad Bowl With Tuna.

    Mediterranean Chopped Salad Bowl With Tuna. Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick

While making this salad for lunch recently, my umpteenth time over the years, it dawned on me that I should share it with you. I suppose I had not thought to do so before because it never seemed like a real recipe as much as a quick assembly of random on-hand ingredients. But there is a formula to this favorite meal, one that allows the result to take on many forms.

Its single must-have ingredient is a high-quality jar or can of tuna packed in olive oil. The brand I typically buy is a seven-ounce Italian import, which runs about $8. But before you balk at the price, consider the value: This one item provides plenty of premium fish for this salad for two, plus enough olive oil to dress it.

The big chunks of flaky fish get tossed with an assortment of crisp, colorful chopped vegetables, which is where the endless variations come in. The accompanying recipe represents a good sampling of the year-round basics: lettuce, bell peppers and cucumbers. But when I have leftover cooked vegetables -- steamed broccoli, green beans, asparagus -- they would get tossed in there as well (or instead), as might raw ingredients such as chopped tomato, radishes, kohlrabi, cabbage, celery and radicchio.

I always add a fresh, tender herb such as parsley or basil, and a sprinkle of dried oregano, which gives the salad an immediate Mediterranean vibe. And I also like to toss in a briny element such as olives, capers or even chopped pickles, depending on what I have that needs to get used up.

As I mentioned, the oil from the tuna creates the base for the dressing. All you need is an acid such as fresh lemon juice, or vinegar, plus salt and pepper to create a lovely vinaigrette, and presto! Lunch, or a light dinner, is served.

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