Julia Child's Tuna Salad Recipe For National Sandwich Month - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Julia Child's Tuna Salad Recipe For National Sandwich Month
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Julia Child’s Tuna Salad Recipe For National Sandwich Month

August is National Sandwich Month. While we’ve published many delicious sandwich recipes, we’d like to share a variation on the classic tuna salad sandwich.

It’s not just any variation: It’s Julia Child’s recipe.

Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan published the recipe in The New York Times last year, sharing that it was one of Julia Child’s lunchtime favorites.

Since Julia was on the road much of the time, being fed rich foods, when she returned home she preferred simple foods.

Here’s Dorie’s charming story.

And a charming fact: Julia Child’s birthday August 15th, right in the middle of National Sandwich Month.

Here’s Julia’s recipe as adapted by Dorie Greenspan.

For her tuna salad, Julia required:

  • Tuna packed in oil.
  • Hellmann’s mayonnaise.
  • Mix-ins such as capers, chopped celery, cornichons, chopped Vidalia onion, herbs (chives, parsley), squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper, preferably white*.
  • Garnishes: butterhead† lettuce (soft lettuce), tomato slice, onion slice (preferably Vidalia)
    Julia would serve the sandwich on white bread, or open-face on a Bays English muffin (photo #2).

    This tuna salad recipe is great with us. Not to challenge an icon, but personally:

  • We might add an element of sweetness, substituting sweet gherkins for the cornichons.
  • We’d serve the tuna salad on rye or seeded toast.
    Of course, you don’t need to make a sandwich.

  • Consider lettuce cups or a scoop of tuna atop a green salad.
  • For a snack or apéritif, serve the tuna on baguette or ficelle‡ slices, with a glass of wine.
    What beverage should you serve?

    The beverage that might have been served in Julia’s kitchen with the tuna sandwich was not recorded in the article. But we’d go for an iced tea.

    A squeeze of lemon or lime would not only brighten the tea, but also the tuna flavors.
    *In French cooking, white pepper is used to season light-colored food. The idea is to avoid black specks on the food. Today, rules are more relaxed—and most people enjoy the black specks, or don’t notice them.

    †Butterhead is a soft leaf lettuce, such as bibb or Boston. The different types of lettuce.

    ‡Ficelle is a long loaf that’s thinner than a baguette—1″ to 2″ wide. The word is French for “string.”


    [1] An adaption of Julia Child’s signature tuna salad sandwich. Here’s the recipe from Dorie Greenspan and The New York Times (photo Heami Lee © New York Times, Food Stylist Maggie Ruggiero, Prop Stylist: Rebecca Bartoshesky).

    [2] Use tuna in oil, preferably olive oil. The oil makes the tuna more flavorful (photo © Vital Choice).

    [3] Bay’s was Julia’s English muffin of choice (photo © Bays).

    [4] Capers are a great garnish for so many dishes. Capers are the flower bud of the plant; the larger caperberries are the fruit with seeds inside. Both are brined before jarring, and thus contribute tangy saltiness as well as flavor to dishes (photo © Good Eggs).



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