My mother has six sisters who live in Italy, the UK and Canada, and each one is, simply put, an outstanding cook.
Zia Maria is my mother’s eldest sister, and is one of her two sisters who has lived in Italy her whole life. I remember going to the village to visit each summer, and seeing how hard everyone worked in the fields and in their homes, but Zia Maria was the quintessential hard-working Italian woman, with her long dark hair always braided and tied up underneath a handkerchief, usually walking with a basket on her head or kneading massive amounts of bread dough!
It was rare not to see her working hard, or cooking something, and it was always something fabulous (I loved when she made pizza)!
So years ago, when I was watching my Zia Maria putting together this salad, I wondered what had happened to her cooking skills! I had always loved tuna and tomato salads, but the addition of hard boiled eggs was making me question her judgment, and I actually voiced my opinion to my aunt, saying something to the effect of, “I don’t think I’m going to like this!” I don’t recall what she responded, but she did make me try it. I was stunned–it was impossibly delicious! I was puzzled beyond words as to how something I thought would taste horrifically bad, could taste so good!
I remember being very excited to make the salad for my father when I came home, and he loved it too, so here’s hoping you feel the same way! Just don’t knock it ’til you try it!
Zia Maria’s Tuna, Egg and Tomato Salad
- 1 can of good quality tuna with olive oil
- 1 or 2 organic tomatoes
- 2 hard boiled, free-range eggs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp strong wine vinegar (I use at least 6% acidity)
- Kosher or sea salt, enough to salt the tomatoes and eggs
Empty the tuna into a bowl and add the hard boiled eggs.
Cut up the tomatoes and add to the salad.
Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar over the salad and add salt.
Garnish with a sprig of basil, for a splash of color, if desired, and it’s ready to serve with some crusty, Italian bread or rolls.
My cousin Ada, Zia Maria’s daughter in Italy, is able to read English, so please feel free to send comments to my Zia Maria, below, and Ada will read and translate them to her. I’m sure she’d be overjoyed to hear them!
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