Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spicy Tuna Melt

A classic, open-faced tuna melt sandwich of tuna, celery, sweet onion and tarragon and dressed with mayonnaise, gets a spicy kick from Cajun seasoning, hot sauce and jalapeno and is served on a toasted English muffin, topped with fresh, sliced tomato and melted cheese.

Spicy Tuna Melt

Okay, so yes. It's a simple open-faced tuna melt sandwich. But a reader recently asked me for my recipe, which of course gave me a craving for one, so I made them and I'm sharing it with y'all, because that is what a blogger of food does. Besides. It's too darned hot to cook much, or at least often, and when is the last time you had one yourself? I think it's time!

To make a melt, you could certainly use whatever type of tuna salad you usually make for the standard sandwich, and mine is fairly close to that, with the exception of a few different seasonings and the absence of eggs. I don't serve the tuna hot, though you can certainly warm it if you like. I just assemble them and pass them under the broiler, only long enough to melt the cheese on top. Since that's all the oven time you need for these, pair one of two of them up with a nice cucumber salad, or a simple green salad, maybe some fresh seasonal fruit and iced tea, and you've got a nice, light supper for these busy, hot weather days.

Here's how I make them.

To two cans of drained tuna, add chopped celery, sweet onion, jalapeno, tarragon, lemon pepper, Old Bay and Cajun seasoning. Stir all that together.

You'll need at least a cup of shredded cheese, but I like to add 1/4 cup of it into the tuna, along with the mayonnaise. Use whatever cheese you favor or have on hand for these. You can even use sliced American cheese and leave the cheese out of the mixture. Some folks even like tuna melts with Cheez Whiz or Velveeta.

I like to use English muffins for melts, although Texas toast is good too, but even regular sliced bread works just fine. I very lightly toast the English muffins, but you can also just leave them soft, if you prefer. Divide the tuna mixture evenly between all of the halves. Now, if you like them good and cheesy, you can add a pinch or slice of cheese right here on top of the tuna, then pass them briefly under the broiler and proceed. The cheese is real good melted into the tuna and it just makes them a little more, well, cheesy. Nothing wrong with that! I'm gonna behave though for the purposes of this tutorial at least.

Top each with the slices of tomato and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a couple dashes of hot sauce here too if you like.

Top each sandwich with the remaining shredded cheese. I was conservative here, but you go right ahead and add a little more if you like.

Place under the broiler and with the oven door ajar; broil just until cheese is melted. Remove and garnish with additional tarragon, if desired. I desired, but I just flat out forgot before it had its photo shoot! Serve immediately. A simple but delicious sandwich that is ready in no time and makes for a quick and easy supper, that's just a step beyond the tuna sandwich.

Recipe: Spicy Tuna Melt

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 5 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 (5-6 ounce) cans or pouches of tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon of pickled jalapeno, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon of lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 3 English muffins or 6 slices of Texas toast
  • 6 thick slices of tomato
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Couple dashes of hot pepper sauce

Preheat broiler. Mix together the tuna with the next 7 ingredients. Add 1/4 cup of the cheese and the mayonnaise; mix and set aside.

Split the English muffins and lightly toast, if desired. Divide the tuna mixture evenly among the English muffins and top each with a slice of tomato. Season with a small pinch of salt, freshly cracked black pepper and a dash of hot sauce. Divide the remaining cheese among each sandwich and place under the broiler with the oven door ajar; broil just until cheese is melted. Remove and garnish with tarragon, if desired. Serve immediately with a side salad of mixed baby greens, some fresh strawberries or peaches and a glass of iced tea.

Cook's Notes: If you prefer the tuna salad portion warm, heat it in the microwave. Can also substitute a variety of sliced cheeses, Velveeta or American cheese slices for the shredded, or use Cheez Whiz. For extra cheesy goodness, top tuna with cheese and run under the broiler first, then top with tomato and extra cheese and run under the broiler again.


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Posted by on June 1, 2012
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