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Tuna melt, revisited

A thread over a year ago asked for dishes that should be banned forever. I volunteered the tuna melt, and was immediately attacked. Coward as I am, and having the human weakness of wanting to be liked by others, I immediately changed my posture.
Tonight I made one that was quite tasty. I toasted a split Thomas' English muffin, added a thick slice of fresh Florida tomato to the halves, (currently 99 cents / lb, same diameter as the muffin). Tuna salad was tuna in oil, w/ mayo, diced red onion, garlic powder, Worchestershire sauce, tarragon. Then thick slices of havarti, topped with dill. Nuked it for 75 seconds to get the cheese to molten up, and the tomato didn't soak the muffin.
What is your favorite variation?

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  1. I'm not a big fan of the Tuna Melt, but I have to say that your version sounds pretty darn good!

    1. One version: Oil packed tuna (the italian kind; since trying it I can't eat starkist or the like anymore), tarragon, minced red onion and enough mayo to moisten. Salt and pepper to taste, sometimes I add hot sauce, too. Onto toasted bread (either sourdough or english muffin), top with extra sharp cheddar and under the broiler 'til brown. I *must* have the bread toasted before assembly and it absolutely *must* go under the broiler.

      Another version: Oil packed tuna, lemon zest plus the juice of ~ 1/2 of a lemon, minced red onion, s&p, mayo to moisten. Onto sourdough bread with arugula and havarti, then grill between two hot iron skillets (or a panini press if you're fancier than I am).

      3 Replies
      1. re: jencounter

        Don't knock the Starkist until you try the marinated Yellowfin, packed in Olive oil, lemon and dill

        1. re: Jack_

          yes, that starkist is good. sadly, it is only $2.00 plus or minus for a tin -- not $8, like the italian stuff.

          1. re: alkapal

            alkapal, I realize you posted this a year ago. Not long ago I found a 4-pack of Italian tuna packed in olive oil at Costco for $2+/can. Just saw the same thing at a "gourmet" food shop for about $4.50.

            Re combos, one of the guys at Molinari's Deli in SF told me to mix it with some red onion, capers and cilantro. I add extra oo and a splash of sherry vinegar.

      2. An Italian brand of oil-packed (probably same as jen above), honey mustard (not a mayo fan), onion, celery, bell pepper, curry powder, fresh ground pepper. With jalapeno havarti. On whatever kinda bread I got (often whole grain.)

        1. Can't resist. yes I love the tuna melt. Tacky as it is ... it still is good. I love my english muffin toasted no oil or butter just toasted. Then the tuna. Light mayo, salt and pepper, light dill, 1 small shallot diced and a few bread and butter pickles chopped fine. 1/2 teaspoon dijon or less, just a small "squirt" for flavor and I like 1/2 teaspoon capers just mashed with my fork. That is my perfect tuna. Oh yeah .... TUNA too. I love it. Tomato, absolutely and I like a thin onion slice very thin. I grill both sides of the muffin, add the tomato and onion and havarti (like that but gruyere is great too) to one side ... tuna and cheese to the other side, grill both, melt the cheese and put together. Pretty cool. Or open face is ok too. If open face, everthing on both halves. Either or. Good Eats!!

          5 Replies
          1. re: kchurchill5

            Aw, kc5, I’ve never found the tuna melt to be tacky. :-) In fact, I often order it for lunch from a resto that puts it on a grilled pita and covers it with plain ol’ American cheese. It may be a little mundane, but boy is it good! It’s all in the tuna...

            1. re: cuccubear

              well I know, some think tacky, I love it.

              Pita with capers and red onion and a little vinaigrette, some diced tomato and arugula is amazing.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                i'm so envious of your good local tomatoes! i'll be down later in the month, and that is the first thing i'm going to buy.

                1. re: alkapal

                  I love them basically year round, heirlooms in the spring and fall are outstanding. Red, Green, Yellow and Orange 3 for $1, spoiled, asparagus 1.59 lb.3.99 shrimp lb (ok, previous frozen, but still good), fresh zucchini, more than you can eat, just picked tons of jalapenos and habaneros I grew along with cucumbers. Definitely spoiled.

                  I wouldn't know what to do without my tomato fix. My friend has a garden so I have fresh tomatoes year round.

            2. re: kchurchill5

              veggo and you, k, are neighbors. y'all should go fishin'! and make a "grouper melt"!

            3. You? Coward? aaah no...not imho at any rate :)

              Tuna melts are in the lunchtime rotation around here (3 kids 7 and under), faves begin with toasted w/w english muffins. Tuna salad component is water packed tuna (heresy to some but it's what I grew up with), mashed with a bit of mayo and tzatziki. Top with a slice of cheddar and 1 or 2 slices of roma tomatoes (beefier tomatoes in the summer, romas and cherry toms are the only decent ones now). Slide the works open faced into the toaster oven and broil til the cheese is done which means melted for 2, and 1-2 min longer for the one who likes her cheese crispy... I like mine on the crisper side too...means the tomato gets a good broil. :)

              1. Ah, but you're missing the toastiness. Butter a slice of bread (rye preferred, sourdough acceptable) on both sides. Drop into a medium-hot skillet and cook until the bottom is crispy. Flip it over, reduce heat to low, add a scoop of tuna salad (your recipe sounds perfect), and drape a slice of cheese (swiss for me, but that's negotiable) over the top. If the gods smile on you the tuna will be warm through, the cheese will be melted, and the bottom of the bread will be perfectly toasted all at the same time.

                5 Replies
                1. re: alanbarnes

                  When’s lunch buddy? That sounds great...much better than my traditional, pedestrian tuna melt. I’ve just been inspired!

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    Alan, a restaurant I worked at used to bring the chilled tuna just to warm in the microwave - that way the tuna gets nice and warm while the bread is toasting on the grill, but the bread never ever gets burned, which had been a longtime issue for me until I learned this trick.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        Plus one. Why didn't *I* think of that?

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Right? When they showed me, I stood there feeling like a total noodge with no grasp of the completely obvious.

                  2. My approach is cut the top from a Corsican Basil bread roll, hollow it out and toast the torn out pieces in buttered skillet while, simultaneously, toasting the exposed side of the bread roll. Then I re-deposit the toasted pieces (without filling the cavity completely) and pile on a mixture of good quality tuna, pinch of cumin (or thyme), chopped tomato and mayo. to moisten,and top it with a slice avocado and grated of cheddar cheese. Under the broiler to melt/brown and serve with a curl of sour cream on top. Gotta have a Pilsner with this ...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: todao

                      That will definitely work ... especially the Pilsner, :)

                      1. re: todao

                        I might have to try me a tuna melt

                      2. I haven't had a tuna melt in so long.... but my fave was always: sardimar tuna (in oil with spices and veggies) mixed with a little mayo, a touch of lizano, chopped red onion, capers, salt, and pepper. I'd put it with a slice of fresh tomato on toasted super nutty bread, with a piece of swiss cheese on top, then broil it til the cheese is starting to brown. wow, I could really go for one of those right now.....

                        1. My husband's favorite is a tuna melt on cinnamon raisin bread with grilled onions. Most folks think it's a little strange, but he likes it!

                          1. I like mine open-faced. Take a slab of tuna steak (none of this sissy canned stuff) about 1/2" thick. Smear both sides with lime-mayo. Sear both sides for not more than 2 minutes each. Place on a toasted slice of thick sourdough bread liberallt buttered. Top with a couple slices of smoked Gouda, and park it under the broiler until the cheese melts. Just try to wait till it's cool enough to eat!!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: KiltedCook

                              Mine is on a bagel - toasted til golden in oven, pull out place a slice of muenster cheese on each half and place back in oven til bubbly and melted, pull out of the oven and put tuna, made with mayo and sweet pickles, on one side, grate on some fresh black pepper and close up the bagel making a sandwich. This is one of my favorite sandwiches at home. I usually do not get them out, because I can not get them like this - most place like to serve them open face.

                            2. Reviving an old thread for new ideas! I go to a book club every 6 weeks and it's become a silly sort of inside-joke-y family tradition that Book Club Night is Tuna Melt Night. Right now I have two that I'm rotating, an apple-curry version and a pineapple version - I tend to like tuna salad with a bit of sweetness.

                              Anyone have a melt they're in love with right now?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: darklyglimmer

                                I stick to the classics because I'm evidently a prescriptionist. : ) Albacore Tuna, super-finely diced celery, green onion and relish; mayo and a squeeze of lemon; salt and pepper. On Rye, with either Swiss or (gasp!) American cheese, but not the individually cell-wrapped kind. And every now and again i remember to spread the outside of the bread with a very thin coat of mayo, instead of butter: it grills beautifully and the crust is a little crispier.

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  LOL - no mixing threads!! ;)

                                  Your version sounds tasty. One reason that I'm leaning toward fruity tuna melts these days is because the toddler will always eat fruit, and the way I see it, when she picks out all the chunks of apple, surely she's ingesting at least a little protein, right?