As promised, here's my Mom's Tuna Noodle Salad recipe. She made this for as long as I can remember so it's at least 50 years old. Whenever I make it, the taste and aroma take me back to my childhood. I made the non-macaroni version two weeks ago. It's what my mom used to make to put on sandwiches for lunch on Fridays when I went to Catholic grade school. It's also very good but doesn't stretch as far as the noodle version. There are two secrets to this recipe depending on what's available in your area.
When I lived in the Midwest, I used to add Henri's Tas-tee salad dressing to it and cut the mayo in half or sometimes eliminate it. This added a more complex taste than just straight mayo. The thing I liked about using Henri's is that it's made with celery seed and onions so if you're making this for someone who dislikes onions, this solved the problem...just enough onion taste so you could delete the diced onion.
Once I moved to the West coast however, I couldn't locate Henri's anywhere and so, I would take celery seed and grind it up with a mortar and pestle to add to the salad. Pretty good until, totally by accident, I stumbled upon celery salt. It's a perfect substitute for Henri's. I've been using this for about 15 years now. It's what I attribute the pot luck popularity of this dish to; ust the right amount of flavor without being overpowering. It rises above being just another mayonnaise based noodle salad.
These curved little babies hold a great deal of hidden water, so I've learned that after cooking, draining and rinsing in cold water, the best thing is to line a large container or bowl with two or three layers of paper towels, dump the drained noodles in and place in the fridge for a few hours. I never cover them (unless I'm leaving them for more than 3 hours) since I want the extra moisture to evaporate. If you don't do this, in a day or so, the salad is rather watered down, if that makes any sense. Then, I transfer them to another large bowl without paper towels and begin assembly. In the interim, while macaroni is draining, I dice the celery and onions, drain the peas and tuna. Time-wise it works just fine and all comes together quite conveniently. If you use the whole pound of macaroni, this serves 12 to 15 people depending on the level of gluttony. Lol!
1 lb. box of small elbow macaroni (you can use the whole box or just three quarters of it depending on how far you want to extend the quantity of salad)
1-12 oz. can drained and flaked Chicken of the Sea tuna in oil (I prefer the oil, despite the extra calories because it seems to blend in better than the tuna packed in water)
1/2 to 1 c. of Best Foods mayonnaise depending on quantity of noodles used and taste (on the Eastern half of the U.S. it's called Hellman's...who knows why?)
1-15 oz. can drained Le Seuer Very Young Small Early Peas
4 -6 stalks diced celery (depends on how your preferences, it's about 3/4 to 1 1/4 c.
1 small or 1/2 large, diced red onion (again, depend on your taste-buds)
1/2 to 1 1/2 t. celery salt (my favorite is Lawry's which I can't find anymore...start small, mix in, let sit, mix again, taste and then adjust)
Directions: Bring water to a boil in a 5-6 qt. pot (mine came with a colander that fits inside the pot which is perfect for this task). Add macaroni and bring to a boil again. I suggest stirring several times or you wind up with a large noodle patty. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer or light boil and set timer for 10 minutes. When time's up, fish a noodle out, cool and test for doneness. You want a firm not mushy noodle. Drain in colander and run under cold water or set colander into bowl of cold running water. Once cool enough to touch, let sit as noted in the third paragraph above.
Dice up the onion and celery. Drain the tuna and peas. When noodles are drained, put into large bowl, adding celery, onions, tuna, mayo and celery salt. Mix thoroughly. Gently fold in peas as the last ingredient. Taste. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours for flavors to blend and celery salt to bloom. Stir and adjust to taste. Enjoy!
P.S. I would have taken a photo of my finished product, but since I'm still pretty sick, I haven't been to the store and have no lettuce or tomatoes. Something this dish really needs if you want a decent pic of it. Maybe next time.
Labels: In the Kitchen, Memory Lane, Recipes, Vintage