One of my very favorite restaurants of ever is Serafina in New York. It’s not the fanciest, or the most avant-garde, but they do Italian food really, really well. If you’re ever in New York, go to there and get a pizza and tiramisu. Plus, the one on 61st street has this back, closed in patio where you can see into people’s apartments Rear Window-style, so it’s good for creeping. Maybe I shouldn’t say that. Oh well. ANYWAY! They used to have this salad on their menu called the Della Nonna (From Grandmother), and it was basically a caprese salad with tuna. I could eat that all day long; I think I almost cried the day I went back and they had taken it off the menu. It’s just really simple and fresh, and each flavor has a chance to shine. I’ve tried to recreate it over the years, but I used to always buy that tuna for astronauts and it…just isn’t the same. We got this albacore tuna at work that is alder smoked, and I tried it on my della nonna recipe, and kablamy! Success at last! So, the key is really good quality ingredients. If you don’t like tuna, well, then this recipe isn’t for you. I love tuna. I ate it almost exclusively for about 4 months this past year. I guess that’s kinda gross, but whatever.
Here’s the recipe and a slideshow. Take a look at the pictures because I go over how to dice a tomato for salad in there – the technique can be used whenever you need diced tomatoes. I didn’t include pics of chopping the tuna because let’s face it, tuna isn’t all that pretty close up. Just drain the can, empty the contents on your cutting board, and run the knife through it.
The amounts of the recipe don’t really matter. Make as much as you need to make. I made enough for 2, so just do the math.
Insalata Della Nonna (serves 2) Inspired by Serafina NYC
1 big tomato or 2 roma tomatoes, diced
3 T basil, chopped or chiffonade
3/4 c fresh mozzarella, diced
4-7 oz of albacore tuna, chopped (not flaked!)
1 1/2 T good olive oil (I sound like the Barefoot Contessa, lol)
1 1/2 T good balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine everything in a bowl. Mix it up. Eat it. (Don’t try to save it. It’s probably only good the day it’s made.)