Sure, to some, a tuna melt is a tuna melt is a tuna melt. But when I was growing up back in Swansea, MA, it was my personal manna. During seventh and eighth grades, we were on double sessions, so all of us kids were on our own for lunch. My best friend Bobby Ledoux and I ate tuna melts about three days a week, before heading off to school. I gussied them up with all kinds of fold-ins: mustard, onions, relish, olives, and just about every spice in the cabinet. Eventually my tuna-melt phase petered out, only to be replaced by my pizza-loving extravaganza in high school. Nowadays, when I’m rooting around the pantry for something to eat, I delight myself all over again when I realize I’m just a few ingredients away from feeling like 13 again.–Jennifer Chandler
LC Any Which Way Note
As the author notes in her book, you can fly fancy free with regard to the classic tuna melt sandwich. Her suggestions, for starters anyways, include reaching for rye bread or split English muffins instead of the usual white bread and substituting Swiss cheese or Pepper Jack for the Cheddar. While we’re on the topic of cheese, if you’re one of those types who simply can’t get enough cheese, then you already know to make sure the slices are ample so as to drape across the entire sandwich. Practice makes perfect. Best get started.
Tuna Melt Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 25 M
- Serves 4
- 2 cans (5 ounces each) tuna, preferably oil-packed, drained and flaked
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery (about 1 stalk)
- 1 finely diced onion, tablespoon
- Up to 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- Up to 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices crusty white or sourdough bread, lightly toasted
- 8 slices tomato
- 4 slices Cheddar cheese
- 1. To make the tuna melts, start by preheating the broiler.
- 2. In a medium bowl, stir together the tuna, celery, onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and oregano until well combined. Taste and add a little more of any particular ingredient as you deem fit. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper to taste.
- 3. Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet. Spread 1/4 of the tuna salad onto each slice and top with 2 tomato slices and a slice of cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling and you simply can’t resist it any longer, 1 to 3 minutes. Serve the tuna melts piping hot.
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Oct 12, 2010
This is a great tuna salad recipe. Not spectacular as far as tuna salad goes, but the lemon juice, zest and oregano were great little additions that elevated this normally homey humble dish. As I am a texture person, I used the celery for some crunch. Although the yellow onion was good, I might try red onion next time for a bit of sweetness. The juicy fresh tomato slices and Cheddar cheese made for a substantial lunch. I rather quite enjoyed it and will definitely be making it again.
Oct 12, 2010
I looked over the simple steps and simple ingredients to this sandwich. I had everything in my kitchen and several house guests, so I decided why not try it for lunch! The tuna melt was delicious! The hint of lemon zest, juice, and oregano was perfect. I didn’t know tuna salad could be so good. I made half of the melts on rye bread and half on sourdough bread—both were very good. So fast to assemble and a perfect little sandwich for my recipe file!
Tuna Melt Recipe © 2010 Jennifer Chandler. Photo © 2010 Natalie Root. All rights reserved.