|Tuna croquette with plum salsa and jalapeño honey mustard. © Ryan Schierling|
I grew up with tinned tuna that on the good days might have been StarKist® spokes-fish Charlie®. On bad days, it might have been down-on-his-luck Chuck – generic label, definitely not dolphin-safe, extra-mercury-packed, probably not even actual tuna canned tuna. My beloved childhood tuna salad sandwiches always tasted predictably perfect – smashed, flaked fish, heavily-laden with mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish, served on Roman Meal wheat bread (crusts on) by mom.
You can buy whatever tuna you want for this recipe. Maybe you went sporting in the Sea of Japan and got big, fresh and lucky. Perhaps some spendy Italian tonno in oil or just cheap chunky albacore in spring water? Maybe some of that new-fangled tuna in packets. Don't care. We do this recipe fast and cheap, so use whatever you want or feel morally, socially or financially inclined to.
What you will get is a surprisingly bright, nuanced plate. The jalapeño honey mustard is an anti-tartar sauce – sweet, spicy and with a tang that when paired with the plum salsa is a left-right combination punch. The tuna never knew what was coming. We've made this dish so many times with just the mustard sauce, and it's still wonderful. Visually, the now in-season plums suggest a pretty tuna crudo preparation, and paired with Texas sweet onion, jalapeño, cilantro and lemon juice, they'll take you from Chuck to Charles in no time.