Tuna melt has always been something that I liked to order in a restaurant or sandwich place but never made at home. I guess the reason is that I never really knew what goes in a tuna melt or how to make it. The yummy and messy tuna melts always seemed like a mysterious concoction of some very obvious ingredients – tuna, toast, melted cheese – and ‘something’ else that gives it flavor and ‘somehow’ makes it gel.
Turns out that preparing tuna melt at home is quick, difficult to mess up and requires only ingredients that are easy to stock.
- one can of tuna (get good quality, canned in olive oil – not vegetable oil or water)
- finely chopped shallots and garlic (raw – which will make for a nice bite)
- juice of half a lime
- salt, pepper and Japanese hot pepper (guess it does not have to be Japanese, but the spicy mix you get at Japanese stores is great)
- bread that can be toasted
- cheese that can be melted (cheddar, emmentaler or similar)
You first need to make tuna salad: Mix all ingredients in a bowl – the tuna (without the olive oil unless you like your tuna melt very oily), about two spoons of mayonnaise, shallots, garlic, lime juice and the spices. You are looking for enough mayonnaise to later be able to easily spread the tuna salad. You can add vegetables like red bell pepper or scallions.
Then you prepare the tuna melts: First pre-toast the bread for about half its regular toasting time (about 2-3 minutes, depending on the type of bread). Next, spread the tuna salad thickly (a thumb) on the bread. Slice the cheese (comte also works well) not too thinly and lay on top of the tuna salad. Put the melts in the toaster oven for the remaining time (about 3-4 minutes, depending on type of bread again and how bubbly you like your cheese).
And that’s it. Take the tuna melts out of the toaster oven when it beeps and serve hot and yummy. It’s great comfort and hangover food. And the different flavors and textures mix really well – the soft tuna with the pungent and crunchy shallots, the oily mayonnaise with the sour lime juice and the warm, melted cheese with the crunchy toast!