Tuna salad gets an exotic makeover
I love curried tuna salad but I do not enjoy raisins in savory dishes. I agree with most cooks that a curried version of tuna salad needs something sweet to offset the earthy and bitter notes of the curry powder. I’ve tried apricots, which I find too sour to support the other flavors in the salad. Currants are fine but don’t quite provide the punch of sweetness I desire.
Dried figs, on the other hand, have texture and a very direct sweetness–best of all, the fig is a legendary aphrodisiac! (I should also note that all of the ingredients that come together to make a classic curry powder blend, including coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom and mustard are historically aphrodisiac as well.)
Why golden figs?
I prefer using dried, golden figs for this curried tuna salad as opposed to some of the dark varieties available in dried form. I find that their texture is on the chewier side–and I believe that a variety of textures heightens the sensuality of a dish. And I also find their sweetness to be at a similar level to a golden raisin. You can use whatever dried figs you have on hand but to experience this recipe at its full aphrodisiac potential, I recommend picking up some golden figs.
For another great use for dried figs, check out Annette Tomei’s recipe for Figs in Port Syrup. (Although Annette’s recipe calls for black, Californian figs, you can also use golden for the same, decadent results.)
One note on the servings. The recipe (as printed below) serves four as a light lunch or appetizer but if you’re going to do it as a dinner for two, I really recommend using the full recipe as two servings.
Curried Tuna Salad with Golden Figs
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 a medium sweet onion such as Vidallia, finely chopped (approx 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 6 oz cans white tuna packed in water drained
- 4 golden figs finely chopped
- 1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
- pinch salt
- 2-3 cups mixed baby lettuces
- Add the curry powder to a small sauté pan and toast over medium heat for about 30 seconds, until its fragrance is released. Remove pan from heat and allow the powder to cool.
- Combine the curry powder with sweet onion, mayonnaise and lime juice in a medium mixing bowl, mixing until thoroughly combine.
- Add the tuna, figs and pumpkin seeds and gently fold the mixture together. Season with salt before serving over lettuce.
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