The BRT Salad
The BRT (Beet-Rhubarb-Tuna) Salad: hang on as you might have just met your summer love affair or just your new seasonal best friend. What an unlikely combination, but truly a winner in my book. It’s inspired by the flavors of chicken macaroni salad that I grew up with in the Philippines.
By BRT Salad I mean: Beet-Rhubarb-Tuna Salad. Yes, you read that right.
[Note: Much thanks to Emily, who not only believed this seemingly-ghastly combo, but also reminded me to post about it! :)]
Before you think I’m completely off my rocker (well, I am but that’s beside the point) and unsubscribe or close your browser window or listen to your brain’s warning: Abort! Abort! Hear me out. It might sound completely ridiculous but not only is it completely doable–it’s surprisingly good.
It might not look much, either (unless you’re like me who likes this kind of pink not only on her hair but with her food as well):
Reserve your judgments for now as this could be your unexpected love affair this summer. Truly. What an amazing burst of flavors and textures. So fresh and juicy! I finished two…TWO big bowls of this right after I took this photo.
How in the world did I come about this unlikely flavor combination? Well, back in the Philippines, we eat a chicken macaroni salad that has chicken shreds and pineapple tidbits in a mayo base. It’s the usual fare in our family events. In Hawaii, you’ll find something similar as a side dish in their plate lunch. You might be thinking: ‘Well, that still doesn’t mention any of the BRT ingredients, Joy…” Yes, but the taste combination was what I was after. This recipe was my very first rhubarb cooking experience and from which I realized that when cooked in sweet syrup, it tastes like canned pineapple. So there’s my first substitution: rhubarb for pineapple. Second, the tuna instead of chicken.
Well, they’re the real variables here. I happen to have a bunch of beets that needed to be eaten. I also added celery, which I’ve always found to be very good with tuna, and carrots for crunch and a variation in sweetness on top of the rhubarb and beets.
It really almost tastes like the chicken macaroni salad with strawberry jell-O, except that instead of jell-O, you have beets that taste like corn.
I’m sure I’ve confused you by now! However, if I still have your attention and you’re willing to indulge me by being adventurous and trying this recipe, please do. I’ll be a very happy experimenter, and hopefully, you’ll be a happy and fulfilled tester. I made the ‘mistake’ of mixing the beets with the mayo-ed mixture. For your and your family/friends’ sakes, just top your salad with the beet cubes if you prefer not to have an electrifying pink salad. I like it personally, but it’s all up to you.
Do you dare take the BRT challenge? ;-) Don’t worry, I’ve eaten this many times and it’s been served to very satisfied ‘customers’ (a.k.a. family and friends) the past two weeks! C’mon, it’s not like I’m telling you to try offal…
Here’s the recipe:
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup white or brown sugar (I’ve tried both)
- 1 stalk rhubarb, chopped
- 1 170-gram can of tuna chunks or flakes
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used homemade)
- 3 medium sized beets, boiled, peeled, cut in 1/2″-3/4″ cubes
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, julienned
- lettuce, washed and cut or ripped by hand
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan on medium heat. Wait for the sugar to completely dissolve before adding the chopped rhubarb. Once it starts boiling again, time for 1.5 minutes and take off the heat to cool.
2. Quickly drain the now-mushy rhubarb (keep the syrup to use for sauce or meat marinade) and place in a medium size bowl. Add mayonnaise, tuna, celery and fresh ground pepper (I use a lot). Mix them together first and add salt to sut your taste. You can either add the beets now or just top your salad with it to avoid having a bright pink salad.
3. Serve on a bed of lettuce or on its own. Enjoy the lovely seasonal flavors!