Italian-esque Tuna Rice Salad

I used to shop at Todaro Brothers, an Italian small grocer/ Specialty foods shop as I lived in the neighborhood. While they had great selection of imported foods and nice produce and bread and stuff, their prepared foods were the bomb. Fresh and fairly inexpensive as far as that goes. They had an Italian tuna salad that I bought to bring to the US Open like 12 or 13 years ago, when Capriatti had that not-so-comeback and the Williams sisters still wore hair-beads and there were no sexy men, i.e. Federer in the game, so however long ago that was. I also thought, I can make this. I added rice to mine to make it more of a meal and made it to death when I was eating gluten free. This means I hadn’t added it beck into rotation forever until about 2 moths ago when there was the heat wave and I remembered that I used to make this. Luckily the husband had forgotten that I used to make this like every single day.

It’s fast, simple and is pretty much comprised all of just kitchen/pantry staples. It also makes a ton and can be eaten hot, warm, or room temperature. Perfect for a humid late summer night, and perfect to make post work and after-work workout.


What I used:
Half a Videlia/sweet onion. The original salad used Red Onion but I prefer videlias as the are not quite as strong raw. The red is certainly prettier, but use what you like.
4 Celery Stalks, including the leaves
A 6-7 oz jar of Spanish or Italian imported Tuna in olive oil. I used the Ortiz brand as that is what I had on hand. Use decent tuna in olive oil as you will be using the oil and it tastes better. I have made with regular tinned tuna in water and added oil, but the quality was not as good.
Parsley, flat leaf
Oregano, yes I know, I seem to put it in everything. Really I don’t though.
Sea salt to finish

2 cups dry basmati rice
Water to cook the rice

What I did:
Cook the rice per directions. Mine takes 15 min.

Later update: when I was looking up the link to link back to Todaro Brothers on my edit, I saw the salad on their catering menu, it is called Tuna Lucio and includes kidney beans for starch, will add those the next time. I` d cut the rice down by a quarter to a half and add 15 oz cooked beans if I were doing with beans.

Meanwhile make the salad
Fine dice the onions and celery. This can be done in advance. The husband did it on Sunday. Add it to a large bowl. Add the jar of tuna and flake it. Add 3 spoonfuls of capers and 3 tablespoons of the brine. The brine is your vinegar for the salad. You may need to add more. Or less. Start low and add more to taste later. Add the pepper and mix. You have some time so step outside or something. I stepped outside. On my way in I cut some oregano and a large handful of parsley. Either chop the herbs or just do what I did and snip the parsley into the bowl and strip the leaves off the oregano and add to the bowl. You can stop right here if you want it sans rice or I suppose let it sit for a while, overnight if you wish.

I kept going and made a simple salad AKA dump a package of greens in a bowl and dressed with my pre made lemon/olive oil dressing.


Rice is done. Pour it into the bowl. If you made in advance, I’d be sure the salad is to room temp so that the onions get cooked a bit by the hot rice to mellow them out. If you like it more raw, that’s fine too.

Mix it all up and taste it. Add some more pepper and more capers and/or brine to taste.


Plate it. Sprinkle some sea salt over it. Not very much. The capers add salt.

Eat it.



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