By Riki Shore
When we lived in Los Angeles, I’d treat myself to Intelligentsia coffee as often as I could afford it. No matter how often I stopped in, I made it a point never to eat there. They didn’t offer anything other than stale-looking breakfast pastries, none of which were gluten-free.
When they opened their Pasadena location, they ventured into the world of food service, offering a full lunch menu catered by an outside source.
I still didn’t take the food seriously, figuring that a place that serves such good coffee couldn’t also master food service.
But it stayed on my mind, thanks to my good friend Kathryn, who was always talking about the curried tuna salad they had. She said it came with celery and currants and it totally hit the spot.
I never did try the tuna at Intelligentsia, but I didn’t forget it either. This winter, curried tuna salad kept popping into my head around lunchtime for several days in a row, until I finally decided that I had to make some.
I didn’t have currants on hand (they would be amazing here), so I added some sliced dried apricots instead. The tuna salad below is more sweet than spicy; up the curry powder and add a dash of cayenne pepper if you like more spice.
I served this salad on top of a bed of greens and sliced cucumber, which I drizzled with rice wine vinegar and olive oil. It really did hit the spot – light, refreshing, sweet, spicy and crunchy. Next time I’m in Pasadena, I’ll head over to Intelligentsia to try our their version. But it probably won’t beat mine.
1 can yellowfin tuna, packed in olive oil
1 tablespoon minced red onion
3 dried apricots
1 teaspoon cilantro
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoon mango chutney
1 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Drain the can of tuna and mash it with a fork into fine bits. Place in a medium bowl.
2. Slice the apricots and cilantro and add these along with the red onion to the tuna. Mix well.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until everything is combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
4. Serve atop lettuce greens, sliced cucumber and any other fresh raw salad veggies you have on hand.
5. Sprinkle with rice vinegar, drizzle a little olive oil and top with a dash of Maldon sea salt.