Epic Tuna Melt

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ingredients

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 avocado
1 tablespoon of butter

  1. Drain the tuna from the tin, but keep about a teaspoon of olive oil. Pour the contents into a bowl.
  2. Add the green pepper, onion, garlic, mayonnaise and sriracha. Mix well until thoroughly combined.
  3. Grate the cheese into the tuna mix, and combine well.
  4. Place a frying pan over a medium heat.
  5. Butter one side of the bread, and place the bread buttered-side down in the pan.
  6. Spread one half of the avocado on the bread facing up, or place thin slices all along the bread.
  7. Scoop the tuna mixture onto the bread, spreading evenly across the whole slice.
  8. Spread or place avocado on the second slice of bread, and place it on top of the tuna, avocado side down.
  9. Butter the outer bread slice.
  10. Allow to cook for a few minutes, then turn over. Bread should be crisp and golden on the outsides when done.
  11. Slice in half and enjoy hot!

 

 

 

 

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