For lunch one day, you grab tuna salad from the refrigerator. After all, tuna salad is a convenient and craveable staple in American households. When you take a bite, the taste you love is there, but you can't help but think something is missing. Your tuna salad's texture feels too one-note, leaving you yearning for a more layered sensory experience. Perhaps a little crunch or crisp would provide what you yearn for in your meal. Your tuna salad might also be a tad runny and mushy versus creamy after sitting in the fridge for the past two days. If only it were still creamy and fluffy.
This is the moment where panko breadcrumbs shine, offering you a solution that will transform your one-note tuna salad. When added to the mayonnaise and mixed into your tuna salad, the panko will add crunch to every bite, elevating your tuna salad.
What exactly is panko? It's a Japanese breadcrumb made from steamed, crustless Japanese milk shokupan. Authentic panko breadcrumbs from Japan are usually vegan and can be gluten-free, too. Panko makes everything it coats crunchier and crispier. Coating chicken tenders and pork cutlets in it gives the illusion that the food was fried even before it has been cooked. Panko doesn't come as dusty crumbs, like your standard Western breadcrumbs. Instead, light, airy, individual crispy flakes fill the package. These panko flakes enhance texture like no other.
Why Panko Just Works In Tuna Salad
Why do panko breadcrumbs so dramatically change the texture of tuna salad? The magic lies in their unique composition. Made from Japanese bread without the crusts, panko breadcrumbs have an almost sponge-like structure. This bread architecture allows them to absorb moisture. The only caveat is that your tuna salad may get a little dry, so add a dab or two more mayonnaise than usual when using panko. The mayonnaise will also help bind the panko to the tuna, ensuring that you get a crunch with every bite.
To incorporate panko into your tuna salad, begin by preparing your go-to tuna salad recipe as usual. If you normally add spices, diced onions, celery, and other vegetables, go ahead and prepare those. For every can of tuna, add about 2 tablespoons of panko breadcrumbs and 1 extra tablespoon of mayo. Then, mix until thoroughly combined. Don't go overboard with the breadcrumbs, as you may be left with a gritty and overdry tuna salad. What you're aiming for is balance and fluffiness. While you may want to enjoy your tuna salad immediately, let it rest for a few minutes so the panko absorbs some moisture. Garnish with a sprinkling of black pepper and more panko, if desired.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.