Southern-Style Tuna Salad with Pickles and Eggs

November 15th, 2011

I brought only one cookbook with me to Florida.  Admittedly I have a large collection both in Lake Lure and here, but only one book from Lake Lure spoke to me to be included in the trip South.  It was Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day.  I love her seasonal approach to cooking and the Southern leanings of the book.  But this book is more a reflection of the new South, with twists on old Southern favorites like biscuits and cornbread.  In Sara’s hands they become sweet potato biscuits and cornbread panzanella.

Some things are truly Southern.  Tuna salad with hard boiled eggs and sweet pickles is one of them.  You can eat the tuna salad in a sandwich, but how about serving it on toasted crostini with a garnish of roasted red pepper.  Sara has elevated a simple classic.  Somehow it tastes a little better to me that way.


2 6 ounce cans solid white tuna packed in water or oil (I like oil better), drained
2 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
4 small sweet pickles or 10 whole cornichons, chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or parsley leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the tuna in a medium bowl with the chopped hard-boiled eggs, celery, pickles, mayonnaise, mustard, dill, salt, and pepper and stir to mix.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

Printable recipe

Now onto some exciting news for me.  I entered a contest that is being offered by my blogging buddy Dave’s new website eRecipeCards.  He has gone from blogging his own posts on My Year on the Grill to establishing a website where all us can submit our recipes to share with everyone.  I am loving so much.  It has increased the traffic on my blog and introduced me to lots of other bloggers.  It is a community of cooks both old and new.  I know many of you submit your recipes to the website.  Dave has even started a new blog called Inspired by where he recreates recipes from those of us who contribute to the website.  He is a very supportive guy.

His first contest is being sponsored by O OLIVE OIL.

O OLIVE OIL is offering a box of their cirtrus olive oils and barrel aged vinegars to the winner.  There will also be monetary prizes for best photography and best writing skills.  I submitted an idea for a recipe to O OLIVE OIL and they liked what I suggested.  I am one of 8 bloggers who will post a recipe using O OLIVE OIL oils and vinegars and a review of the products on December 1st.  I look forward to the challenge and to your support.

Grilled Flank Steak Sandwich with Sweet Onion Marmalade and Pear Horseradish Mustard

July 19th, 2011

This has got to be one of the best sandwiches I have ever made.  It may become my signature sandwich, if there is such a thing.  It all started when I was contemplating entering a contest at one of my new favorite  websites, Food52.  The contest this week is “Your best flank steak”.  I was looking to do a little something different than just grill a marinated flank steak, but decided that could be my jumping off point.  I love onions and have been making a red onion marmalade to accompany my pork tenderloin for years.  For the sandwich I decided to do sliced sweet Vidalia onions and cooked them with sugar and vinegar to give them a sweet and sour taste.  In an old Gourmet magazine there was a recipe for a pear and horseradish mustard that has always intrigued me.  I fiddled with the recipe, changed some of the ingredients and finally got a condiment that is way better than either mustard or mayonnaise.  It has a little kick from the horseradish and sweetness from the pears, steeped in cinnamon, bay and peppercorns.  Wow!

With ingredients this good, I needed a bread that would compliment the flavors but not overpower them.  I love ciabatta rolls.  They have a great texture and a mild taste.  I browned the split ciabatta rolls in a little olive oil in a large skillet and they had a nice crunch to them.  They were just perfect for the melting steak slices and sauteed onions.  But the star of this show is the pear horseradish mustard.  It makes a lot and keeps in the refrigerator for up to a month.  So you can enjoy it on many different sandwiches.  As for me, I think I will be grilling a lot of flank steaks.

Comments on the entries in the contest are important.  I would appreciate it if you would comment on my entry.  Just go to Food52 and tell me what you think.  Thank you!


Serves 4

For the Flank Steak and Sweet Onion Marmalade:

1 Flank Steak, 1 1/2 to 2 lbs
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
5 tablespoons Ketchup
5 teaspoons Brown sugar
1/2 cup Red Wine

2 Large Vidalia onions, halved and sliced
3 tablespoons Canola oil
3 tablespoons Sugar
3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Water

1.Marinate the flank steak in the Worcestershire, ketchup, brown sugar and red wine in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. 

2.While steak is marinating, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Add the sliced onions and cook over moderate heat until the onions become soft. Add the sugar and cook stirring for a few minutes. Add the vinegar and turn the heat to low and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the water and simmer, stirring, until mixture is slightly thickened and onions are very tender, about 10 minutes. 

3.Prepare grill. Remove steak from marinade and grill it over hot coals turning once until it reaches your desired doneness. Medium rare to medium works best. Remove steak and let rest before slicing it into thin strips. 

For the Pear Horseradish Mustard and Final Assembly:

4 Ripe Pears, peeled and chopped
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Red Wine
1 10 ounce bottle of Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons Creamy Horseradish
4 Ciabatta rolls, split and cut side browned in an oiled pan
Chopped lettuce for garnish

1.Wrap the cinnamon stick, bay leaf and peppercorns in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string. Add the chopped pears and cheesecloth bag to a large saucepan with the red wine vinegar and wine. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced. Cool slightly and remove cheesecloth bag. Puree the mixture in a food processor. Add the pear puree to a large bowl along with the Dijon mustard and the horseradish. Stir to combine. The pear horseradish mustard keeps, covered and chilled for 1 month. 

2.Assemble the sandwiches. Spread the split and toasted ciabatta rolls with 1 tablespoon pear horseradish mustard per side (or to taste). Add the sliced steak and the onion marmalade. Garnish with lettuce. Enjoy
Printable recipe

BLT Wraps

March 10th, 2011

These are tasty little morsels.  This variation on a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich really packs a punch of flavor.  Oil packed sun-dried tomatoes are mixed with mayonnaise and basil and spread on flour tortillas.  Diced bacon is fried crisp, scattered on and then the lettuce is plumped on top.  The whole wheat tortillas are rolled up and sliced.  It is easy to assemble at the last minute and perfect for a buffet.

Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches are a traditional luncheon dish in our family.  Every Labor Day our extended family gathers at the lake for the four day holiday.  We always have BLT’s for one lunch.  My DIL Kristen is the creative force behind the sandwiches.  She always makes them special by flavoring the mayonnaise with fresh herbs and using special breads like rosemary olive oil bread.  The tomatoes usually come from her Mom’s garden;  Darla always brings her multi-hued heirloom tomatoes.  There is nothing better.  But they are time consuming.

When you are serving a crowd, this BLT wrap is a perfect compromise.  All of the flavor is there and I like the bite size presentation.  You may want to secure the wraps with toothpicks, but they are fairly easy to eat as is.  Or if you just want a sandwich for lunch, just cut the tortillas in half and enjoy.  The recipe appeared originally in Southern Living Magazine.


1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dry
8 ( 10-inch ) flour tortillas
1 large head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (optional) – I left this out
16 bacon slices, diced and cooked crisp.  Drain on paper towels.
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine mayonnaise, tomatoes and basil in a small bowl.  Spread evenly over 1 side of each tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border.

Layer bacon, onions, and lettuce evenly over tortillas; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roll up tortillas; cut in half diagonally or cut into smaller slices and secure with wooden picks.

Printable recipe


Tuna and Hummus on Toasted Baguettes or What’s for Lunch?

December 6th, 2010

There is nothing fancy about this except maybe the presentation.  When you want something besides a plain tuna fish sandwich for lunch this is just the thing.  The recipe is in Ina Garten’s new cookbook How Easy is That?  I would give you the recipe but The Barefoot Bloggers have requested that we not publish the recipes from this book unless they have already been posted on the food network.  But how hard can this be?  You just toast sourdough bagettes, spread them with store bought hummus, or homemade if you have it, and top it with your favorite tuna salad mixture.  The radishes give it a festive touch.  I would recommend using a good quality tuna though.  I no longer buy water packed tuna, even though it may be saving a few calories.  Oil packed tuna has a much better flavor.

When we are in Florida we tend to have people who stop in for lunch, so I am always on the lookout for interesting luncheon dishes.  Here are a few other suggestions from previous posts.

This four layer salad has a real wow factor.  Guacamole, tomato salad, cucumber salad, and shrimp form a tower of goodness.  I think the next time I serve it, I will put it on a bed of greens.  You can find the recipe here.

Soup is always a good choice for lunch.  Escarole, white bean and sausage soup is one of my easy favorites.  It is great served with cornbread.  You can find the recipe here.

Instead of having quiche for lunch,  try this tasty black bean tart with easy chili crust.  A refreshing salad with avocado and orange slices would be the perfect side dish.  The recipe for the tart can be found here.

These are a few of my favorite lunches.  After being under the weather for a week, I am ready to tackle Christmas.

Caesar Club Sandwich

March 25th, 2010

It is Barefoot Blogger Thursday and time again to duplicate one of Ina Garten’s great recipes. I never worry about what choices are made by our group members every other Thursday because in my mind, there is no bad Barefoot Contessa recipe. Ina has a way of combining simple ingredients in a way that makes for an extraordinary dining experience. This week’s recipe was chosen by Karen of Shortbread and I can just see taking this wonderful sandwich in a picnic hamper on a drive along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway and stopping at one of the overlooks, spreading a blanket, and eating a leisurely picnic with this as the centerpiece.

The idea for this sandwich came from the ingredients in a caesar salad. Ina uses a caesar dressing for the spread and toasted ciabatta bread in place of croutons. I used romaine lettuce to be true to the original salad. Ina used arugula. She included shaved Parmesan and added roasted chicken breasts, crispy pancetta, and sun-dried tomatoes to make this a substantial sandwich. The recipe can be found in her Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook. If you have that book check out the picture of the sandwich. I tried to copy it in my picture below. How did I do? If you don’t have the cookbook here is the recipe.


2 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
good olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-lear parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
1 large ciabatta bread
2 ounces baby arugula, wahed and spun dry (I used chopped romaine)
12 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
2 to 3 ounces Parmesan, shaved

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan skin side up. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. Cool slightly, discard the skin and bones, and slice the meat thickly. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place the pancetta on another sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels.

Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until minced. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, and mayonnaise and process again to make a smooth dressing. (Refrigerate the Caesar dressing if not using it immediately.)

Slice the ciabatta in half horizontally and separate the top from the bottom Toast the bread in the oven, cut side up, for 5 to 7 minutes; cool slightly. Spread the cut sides of each piece with the Caesar dressing. Place half the arugula on the bottom piece of bread and then layer in order: the sun-dried tomatoes, shaved Parmesan, crispy pancetta, and sliced chicken. Sprinle with salt and pepper and finish with another layer of arugula. Place the top slice of ciabatta on top and cut in thirds crosswise. Serve at room temperature. Serves 3.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.