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middle eastern tuna salad w/tahini dressing

Recipe by
Vallèe du Willamette, OR

"A delicious salad from the Levant adapted from a recipe found in Gourmet magazine, many, many years ago. Canned tuna in olive oil is a staple throughout the Mediterranean. If you have never tried it, it is worth a little extra to give it a taste. But be careful - {{you may never go back..." }} I belong to the 'You May Never Go Back' camp myself.

yield 8 -10
prep time 1 Hr 15 Min
cook time 50 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For middle eastern tuna salad w/tahini dressing

  • 2 lb
    yellow onions, sliced thinly (chose a combination of walla walla onions and shallots)
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp
  • 3 Tbsp
    fresh lemon juice (not that stuff in the plastic lemon!)
  • 1
    large garlic clove, peeled
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp
    piment fort (substituted 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne and 1/8 teaspoon of spanish smoked paprika)
  • 1/3 c
    extra virgin olive oil (replaces rice bran oil in original recipe)
  • 2 Tbsp
    pine nuts (*very* $$ so reduced from 1/3 cup)
  • 1 c
    fresh flat leaf parsley (plus a few sprigs for garnish)
  • 6-8
    pita or arabic bread (optional)
  • salad greens (optional) (tried with mixed greens primarily baby spinach and arugula)

How To Make middle eastern tuna salad w/tahini dressing

  • 1
    In a large heavy skillet, cook the onions in 1/3 cup olive oil over low-moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for about 50 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Season them with salt and pepper. Note: this step can be done the day before just be sure to bring the caramelized onions to room temperature first. You can toast the pine nuts, too the day before and save yourself some time.
  • 2
    In a blender, blend the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and piment fort (or sub). With the motor running, add 1/3 cup olive oil in a steady stream, blending until the dressing is emulsified; season to taste with salt.
  • 3
    In a bowl, toss the tuna lightly with half the dressing and mound the mixture on a large platter (you can line the platter with the optional greens if desired.)
  • 4
    With a fork, scatter the onions over the tuna. In the skillet, cook the pine nuts over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are golden; scatter them over the onions.
  • 5
    Drizzle the salad with the remaining dressing and garnish with the chopped fresh parsley. Arrannge the salad with the parsley sprigs and serve it with optional pita (pockets) .

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