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04/02/2016

~The Only Way You Will Get Me to Eat a Tuna Melt~

IMG_4590I adore tuna salad -- ice cold, creamy, crunchy and chunky classic tuna salad.  I love tuna salad subs too -- ice cold tuna salad on an Italian hoagie roll with shredded lettuce, tomato, onion and Swiss cheese.  I made tuna salad and tuna subs for the hubs and I for dinner last night.  After thirty-five years of marriage, he, out-of-nowhere, asks me why I've never made him a tuna melt.

"The only way you will get me to make you a tuna melt...  

... is if you agree upfront to eat it the way I make it.  Over the years, I've seen the tuna melts you order when we're out for lunch.  They're disgusting.  Warm tuna salad is revolting.  Period."  

IMG_4566When it comes to a tuna melt in my kitchen, there are few options.  It is mostly a my-way-or-the-highway sandwich.  The crispy, butter-fried bread must be high-quality brioche or seedless rye -- for my taste, white bread is wimpy and whole grain is overbearing.  The mild-flavored Swiss or provolone cheese must be ooey-gooey perfectly-melted -- cheddars are too assertive and don't melt well either. When served, the chunky and crispy (not mushy and pasty) tuna salad must be chilled, and, for full effect, this hot 'n cold sandwich must be eaten immediately and without interruption.  What about crispy, shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato, and/or onion slices?  As much as I love them, they turn 'a melt' into an overstuffed, messy 5-napkin meal -- serve 'em as a side-salad to this rich, filling sandwich.

Simmer down -- I know that most of the tuna-melt eating food world disagrees -- I don't care. 

IMG_4560For each sandwich:

2  slices brioche or seedless rye bread* 

1-2  tablespoons Dijon mustard

4  slices Swiss or provolone cheese

1  tablespoon salted butter

1/2  cup high-quality tuna salad, your favorite recipe (See Cook's Note below to get my recipe.)

IMG_4565shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, onion and/or gherkins, for topping or accompaniment

*Note:  You can find my easy-to-make recipes for ~ Bread Machine Basics & My Brioche Recipe ~ and ~ Try My Rye:  It's Homemade in the Bread Machine ~ in Categories 2, 5, 15 or 20.

~ Step 1.  Prep and have ready each and every ingredient, including your garnishes.

IMG_4570 IMG_4572 IMG_4575~ Step 2.  Lightly spread Dijon mustard over the tops of each of two pieces of bread.  Top each with two slices of  cheese.

IMG_4578 IMG_4581 IMG_4583 IMG_4585~Step 3.  Over low heat, melt  butter in a 10" nonstick skillet.  Place bread slices in skillet, side-by-side, cheese sides up.  Adjust heat to medium and cook 1 1/2 minutes.  Cover pan and cook an additional 1 1/2 minutes, just until the cheese is starting to melt down sides of bread slices. Remove from heat.  Using a spatula, remove and plate half of the sandwich. Top plated half with chilled tuna salad.  Place the second slice of bread, cheese-side-down on top and eat ASAP.

Note:  If you want to add shredded lettuce, onion and/or tomato to your sandwich, do it in the following order:  Using a spatula, remove and plate half of the sandwich.  Place a thin layer of shredded lettuce on top of the cheese, followed by shaved onion, chilled tuna salad and thin tomato slices.  Place second slice of bread, cheese-side-down on top and eat ASAP.

Crispy grilled bread + gooey melted cheese + crunchy chilled tuna salad = Mel's mouthwatering, ultimate, non-messy, tuna melt:

IMG_4603For an open-faced, knife-and-fork and much more ladylike version (with all the trimmings), use the same concept to build a hot 'n cold melt on a nicely-toasted English muffin!

IMG_4628The Only Way You Will Get Me to Eat a Tuna Melt:  Recipe yields instructions to make as many tuna melt sandwiches as you want to make.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; serrated bread knife; chef's knife; 10" nonstick skillet w/lid; spatula

IMG_4704 IMG_4717Cook's Note: My recipe for ~ Creamy, Crunchy & Chunky "Classic" Tuna Salad ~ can be found in Categories 2, 14, 20 or 26.  In my tuna-salad world, hard-cooked eggs are mandatory. When I'm making tuna salad to eat with a fork, I chop them, in tact, into bite-sized pieces.  When I'm making tuna salad to put in sandwiches, I small-dice the whites and the yolks separately.  To learn how I perfectly cook the eggs, read my post ~ A Little Thing Called: Boiling Eggs (Hard-Cooked) ~ in Category 15.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)

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