I grew up on tuna sandwiches. They were a staple in our household for lunch, both at school and at home on weekends. In fact, they’re still a staple in my parent’s household when I visit them. When you have good bread, good quality mayonnaise and tuna, along with some avocado – you really can’t go wrong.
And then, on top of that… you make it even better by adding cheese and grilling it. Seriously. Adding cheese makes 90% of things that much better. And I’m not a massive cheese fan like some people I know. I like cheese, I appreciate the flavours and uses for it. I don’t feel like I need to add it to everything I eat, or just gorge on it by itself. It wasn’t that long ago that I started to enjoy a good cheese board; desserts should ALWAYS be sweet in my book.
However, when it comes to hot, toasted sandwiches – cheese is a necessity. It takes the sandwich to a whole new level.
Making a great tuna melt is not easy. Some people add to much mayonnaise, some people add to many onions, others don’t add enough cheese. The list is endless. But, in a pinch – a decent tuna melt will do.
For years in Hong Kong, the only tuna melt I’ve really had has been from Pacific Coffee Company. They do a good tuna melt on panini bread, which is full of cheese (although it does feel like plastic cheese).
This time, given the ingredients I had around the house, I decided to make my own.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, butter is essential. Buttering the side of the bread slices that will hit the pan is a requirement to get the best possible tuna melt. It helps crisp up the bread and makes it that much tastier. Trust me.
I used a tin of Portuguese tuna for this, as I had one tin left that needed using. Now, the great thing with Portuguese tuna is that they sell tins of tuna in hundreds of different flavours: plain, oregano, thyme, curry, peri-peri, black pepper, etc. We’re not quite so lucky with that selection in Hong Kong. And any tins of tuna that do have some additional flavours (John West for example) cost a fortune.
I highly recommend using a good quality tin of tuna in olive oil, not brine. The olive oil adds even more flavour to the tuna melt. I also added half a green pepper, one third of an onion, garlic, mayo, sriracha and Cornish Cruncher balsamic onion cheese. All in the name of using up leftovers – including slices of bread that were in my freezer.
You can, of course, add whatever you want to your tuna mix, but I desperately wanted to share this concoction with you, as I was in heaven. I was sending pictures to friends and family, just telling them about it. I know, I know. I shouldn’t blow my own horn, but damn it was so good.
When you’re in need of a bit of easy comfort food, that only requires minimal prep work, look no further.
120 grams Peri-peri tinned tuna in olive oil
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/3 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sriracha
50 grams Cornish Cruncher cheese
2 slices granary bread
1 tablespoon of butter
- Drain the tuna from the tin, but keep about a teaspoon of olive oil. Pour the contents into a bowl.
- Add the green pepper, onion, garlic, mayonnaise and sriracha. Mix well until thoroughly combined.
- Grate the cheese into the tuna mix, and combine well.
- Place a frying pan over a medium heat.
- Butter one side of the bread, and place the bread buttered-side down in the pan.
- Spread one half of the avocado on the bread facing up, or place thin slices all along the bread.
- Scoop the tuna mixture onto the bread, spreading evenly across the whole slice.
- Spread or place avocado on the second slice of bread, and place it on top of the tuna, avocado side down.
- Butter the outer bread slice.
- Allow to cook for a few minutes, then turn over. Bread should be crisp and golden on the outsides when done.
- Slice in half and enjoy hot!