Behold, the simple tuna melt. Wait, I promise this is more than just tuna, keep reading.
I have spent years perfecting the tuna melt. This is a great sandwich for Sunday afternoons filled with books, lawn chairs and sunshine, Tuesday evenings with a quality monster movie or just about any other time I have 10 minutes and an empty stomach.
Let’s start with the tuna. Nothing fancy, can, water packed keep moving. I use two cans so it’s easier to work with the other ingredients ratios.
To the tuna add a small can of chickpeas, 2/3 stalk celery, 1 regular or 5 baby carrots, 1/4 green pepper, a good slice of onion and any other fresh veggies chopped up you have floating around. Next reach for a good quality spicy brown mustard or Dijon. Yellow doesn’t really work here and mayo, well no. If you really need more liquid but don’t want more spice try a light italian dressing.
At this point the filling is pretty good but feel free to theme it out with different season blends. I like chili powder and basil as my go-to.
This is a tuna melt so we should discuss cheese. Damn my lactose intolerance -I will now choose soy cheese but feel free to think outside the yellow square slice. In the past I have done this with gouda, swiss, Munster, buffalo mozzarella – come on!!! Remember that the viscosity of the cheese is important. If you choose something harder like a parmesan or goat cheese you can add a little more since it won’t spread as much. Melty cheeses like pepper jack, mozzarella or cheddar should be used with a light touch since they ooze.
Often overlooked, the bread is critical. Now is a great time for a good texture. Try a seeded rye with a good crust or a 12 grain with tons of seeds.
Ok, here it is. My secret weapon. The difference between a warm tuna sandwich and the meal that earns a spot in my coveted comfort food list – seasoned buttered bread. We all know that to get that perfect golden color on a grilled sandwich you must butter the bread. Add a little flavor to the buttered side. When in doubt use whatever you threw in the tuna. Chili powder and basil work just as well on the outside. Try season salt and parsley for a simple homey taste or rosemary and garlic powder. Sky’s the limit.
The heating element is up to you – skillet, Panini press, sandwich maker – whatever. Get it hot, layer bread butter side down, thick layer of tuna, then cheese and top with bread. I find that if you put the tuna down then the cheese the bread does not get too soft as the cheese melts. Be patient and for the love of all things good in this world do not squish the sandwich as it cooks.
1 batch of tuna will get you 5 or so large sandwiches. Feel free to post your variations. Besides I can get soy mozzarella…
Until we eat again,