In the heat of summer, it’s hard to get excited about turning on the stove or the oven. A salad hits the spot, and with a little enhancement, a salad of canned tuna can become dinner. I like to use tuna packed in olive oil; I think it has a lot more flavor than the water packed type. You, however, must make your own decision about that.
If you are feeling a little more ambitious, you could replace the canned tuna with 12 ounces of fresh tuna, brushed with a little soy sauce and olive oil and grilled to medium-rare. Sliced thin and fanned out over the top, it makes a lovely plate. You could also toss the tuna, avocado and tomato with the greens and dressing, but I find the good stuff always goes to the bottom of the salad bowl when I do that.
I love the bags of pre-washed salad mixes from the produce section of the supermarket. You may use whatever blend you like best. Or you could wash and crisp your own lettuce…but I almost never do anymore. I like to serve this with packaged lime-flavored tortilla chips but crusty bread or even crisp crackers would be good as well.
I hope your friends and family enjoy this as much as mine did!
TUNA RANCHERO SALAD
2 7-ounce cans tuna
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1 bag (8 to 10 ounces) salad mix
4 ounces shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, well drained
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1 cup bottled ranch dressing
2 tbsp minced cilantro leaves
2 green onions, with some of the green top, finely sliced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
The juice and finely grated zest of one lime
1 tsp sugar
Mix all the dressing ingredients and chill at least an hour, or, better, overnight, to mellow.
Drain the tuna and flake into large chunks. Core the tomatoes and cut into thin wedges. Peel the avocados and cut into 1/2” dice.
Put the salad greens on a large platter, or divide among four serving plates. Mound the tuna in the center and arrange the avocado and tomato around it. Drizzle with half the dressing. Scatter the cheese, chiles and cilantro sprigs over the top. Pass the additional dressing at the table. Serves 4 generously.
NOTE: If my guests are folks that I know will appreciate it, I might add half of a jalapeno pepper, seeded and deveined, and very finely minced, to the dressing. Or even a whole one.