A Mediterranean tuna melt may not be the classic tuna melt yet it may just upend everything you thought you knew about your tuna melt preferences.
These Mediterranean tuna melts are a lighter, fresher, and, yes, healthier spin on a diner classic. In what seems a crazy unconventional riff on tradition, tzatziki replaces mayonnaise and there’s the soul-satisfying addition of creamy avocado. Or, as one of our recipe testers explained, “What we have, ultimately, is a homey if a little eccentric piece of comfort food that comes together quickly and disappears even faster.” Yet it sacrifices none of the cheesy goodness of the original. Originally published March 24, 2017.–Angie Zoobkoff
When is a Tuna Melt Not a Tuna Melt?
This Mediterranean tuna melt recipe, from Manhattan chef Michael Psilakis, toasts the bread and melts the cheese first and only then adds the tuna and other ingredients to ensure the cold stuff stays cold and the hot stuff stays hot. It creates a charming collision of temperatures as well as textures. Some may call this a tuna salad sandwich rather than a traditional melt, but to us, it’s heaven.
Mediterranean Tuna Melt
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 25 M
- Makes 4
- 10 ounces (283 g) canned tuna packed in oil, drained
- 1/2 cup (125 g) store-bought tzatziki
- 1/4 medium red onion, diced (about 50 g)
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 8 slices whole-grain bread
- 4 slices Gruyère cheese or other melting cheese
- 4 leaves green-leaf lettuce or romaine, or 1/2 cup packed arugula leaves or any lettuce or leafy greens
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (2 g) chopped mixed fresh herbs (dill, parsley, mint)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 avocado, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) thick slices (about 200 g)
- 1. Dump the tuna and cucumber yogurt dip or tzatziki in a bowl and use a fork to combine them until the tuna is nicely coated yet still chunky. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice and gently fold everything together.
- 2. Preheat the broiler on your oven or preheat your toaster oven. Lightly toast the bread under the broiler or in your toaster oven. Remove 4 slices of toast and set aside. Place 1 slice cheese on each of the 4 remaining slices of toast and return them to the broiler or toaster oven until the cheese melts, 1 to 3 minutes. Watch them carefully and don’t turn your back!
- 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice. Add the greens and herbs and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again. Divide the greens among the 4 plain slices of toast. Scoop an equal amount of tuna over the greens, arrange the avocado slices on top, and sandwich with the toasted cheese slices, cheese side down. Cut the sandwiches on the diagonal and serve immediately.