I stop at the Little Tokyo Public Library from time to time and go through stacks and stacks of food magazines and cookbooks. And this recipe keeps popping up. Harumi Kurihara’s books are my favorite and I noticed this carrot and tuna salad recipe making an appearance in a couple of her books, some Japanese, some in English. She says she created this recipe 20 years ago and still receives letters from readers about it. Must be good.
Her method is to microwave the carrots, onion, garlic, and oil in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for about a minute and a half. Since I don’t have a microwave, I did this in a pan and it worked out great. The tangy dressing goes well with the sweetness of the carrots and the addition of tuna makes it feel substantial. It’s really my kind of salad—great texture and a good amount of protein. I know it’s only January, but with LA weather in the 80s, I’m already thinking this would be perfect to take on a picnic.
Carrot and Tuna Salad
Adapted from Your Japanese Kitchen 2
Makes 4 servings
4 medium carrots (about 7 oz./200g), cut into matchsticks
1/4 small onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can solid white tuna, drained
1 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp shoyu
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, shoyu, and ground pepper. Mix well and set aside.
In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots and stir well. Cook until the carrots are “al dente”—soft, but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the tuna and the dressing to the bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for about an hour to let the flavors meld before eating.