I love cuisine of all sorts, but I have a particularly strong love for local food trucks, diners, and dive joint. Something about the no-frills/casual approach, to me at least, makes the food more honest. The flavors are simpler and cleaner, and you can tell that there is a lot of love put in because it can’t hide behind fancy decorations and descriptions.
So the mac salad is a staple of food trucks, bento boxes and plate lunches on the Hawaiian islands, and there’s a ton of different variations, depending on what island you’re on, who’s making it, etc etc. I went with this basic version and added some canned tuna to half of the batch (because my favorite version always has tuna in it). Surprisingly enough, the tuna version was more popular with this crowd than the plain version.
1 lb elbow macaroni
1/2 sweet (vidalia) onion
Cook macaroni until fat and soft. You can cook it al dente, but it’s actually better a bit overcooked. Drain and cool completely.
Finely grate onion into a bowl. You want all that oniony juice as well, so save everything.
Mix roughly 3 parts mayo and 2 parts milk together to make your dressing – adjust levels to your preference, but you want like a thick salad dressing consistency (if in doubt, err on the side of more mayo; you can always add more milk later)
* I’ve seen recipes call for equal parts mayo and milk, but to me that seems far too watery. Again, go with your own judgement on this one.
Combine pasta, onion and juice, and dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
You can also add grated carrots, peas, chopped cooked eggs, cooked potatoes, relish, pickles, bacon… the possibilities are nigh endless. At the end of the day though, you’ve still got a pretty awesome macaroni salad.