In order to explain just how tasty these tuna melts are, I need to give you some background.
I need to explain how Dustin hates tuna. Well, canned tuna, rather.
And, when I say, “hates,” I mean: will practically vomit if he smells it.
Now, I’m not a huge proponent of canned tuna, per say, but I do like me some tuna melts. And tuna salad. Especially when I’m pregnant, for some reason. Weird.
One day, while I was sharing my cravings of a good tuna melt with some tasty tuna salad and, more accurately cursing Dustin for his aversion to said food, Dustin came up with a great idea for me to make my own tuna salad with fresh tuna, rather than the canned stuff. How had I not thought of this before? Now, Dustin was in no way hinting that he’d eat any of it, but he thought this would be a great recipe I could share with you all.
So, the next week at the Farmers Market, we bought some beautiful tuna steaks and freshly baked New York Deli Rye bread and I prepared my meal.
Now, in order to have a good tuna melt, it is vital to have a good tuna salad. For this, I use strong flavors and lots of crunch. I like my tuna salad to be light, but crunchy — and with just the right amount of pickles. Mmm.
Needless to say, as I made this sandwich for myself (and you all, of course) for lunch, I also made Dustin his own non-tuna melt lunch in disappointed preparation that he would want nothing to do with my new creation.
When Dustin walked into the kitchen and looked for his lunch (a tuna steak, as opposed to tuna salad). He then took a look at my tuna salad and said it looked “pretty tasty.” I tentatively asked if he wanted to try it, knowing the answer already. Would you believe he said he was willing to try it? I know! After he took the smallest bite he could possibly try, he finished it and said, “Wow, that’s really good!”
After he had a few more bites, Dustin decided to wait for the melts to finish so he could have one with me. Did you catch that? Dustin — the man who vomits at the site of tuna melts, tuna salad, canned tuna and the like — waited to eat a tuna melt with me. And I swelled with pride.
Needless to say, Dustin finished his entire sandwich. And loved it.
Yep, they’re that good, people.
Try these tuna melts with fresh tuna. They’re life changing. Literally.
1 tbsp. olive oil
10-11 ounces fresh tuna steaks
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 dill pickle spear, finely chopped
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp. dill pickle juice
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 pinch freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 cup mayonnaise plus more to spread on bread
4 slices rye bread (or sourdough)
2 slices muenster cheese (can substitute cheddar or colby)
optional: 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
optional: slice of tomato
Preheat oven to low broil.
Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of tuna steaks with generous amounts of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook tuna steaks until lightly browned on each side and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Let cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine onion, garlic, pickle celery, oregano, lemon zest and pickle juice. Chop tuna and add to bowl. Add the mayonnaise — enough to moisten, but not drown the mixture (depending on your tastes). Season with salt and pepper.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay the slices of bread flat. Lightly toast the bread on one side so it is golden and then remove from broiler. Remove two of the bread slices from the baking sheet and set aside (these will be the tops of your melts). Flip the the other two slices over to expose the un-toasted side. Spread approximately 1/2 to 1 tbsp. mayonnaise over each slice of bread. Top the bread on the baking sheet with a generous serving of the tuna salad. Layer one slice of cheese over the tuna salad. Place under broiler and heat until cheese is melted and the tuna salad is heated through, about 2-4 minutes. If you’d prefer, you can toast the bread in a toaster and then bake the melts at 375 degrees for approximately 3-5 minutes.
Top with sliced avocado and slice of tomato (if you’d like) and the other slice of bread. Cut diagonally and serve. It’s delicious with a dill pickle spear on the side.
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