There are few things better than a good tuna melt. In fact, it’s one of our favorite ways to consume Wild Planet tuna. So imagine our surprise when we learned that our friend Christina from “But I’m Hungry” didn’t have her first tuna melt until college! Better late than never, right? In her blog post, Christina shares the story of how she came to love tuna melts. She was even kind enough to give us her tips for creating the best tuna melt you’ll ever taste!
This tuna melt has been eye-opening in so many ways. Did you ever think you’d hear someone say that about a tuna melt? Let me explain.
Up until college, I’d never had a tuna melt. Just never had one. I’d had plenty of tuna salad sandwiches, and many a grilled cheese, but no tuna melt. Then one day, my college roommate made one for herself for lunch and I thought, “Hey, that looks pretty good.” So I made one. It was, in fact, good. It was like a tuna sandwich, but obviously better, because of the melted cheese.
Up until now, my tuna salad-making routine has followed this basic procedure: open a can of tuna, add some mayo, chopped onion, maybe some chopped pickles or relish, and some Mrs. Dash seasoning. Done. Pretty standard. Kind of lame. But yesterday, as I was thinking about how good a tuna melt sounded, it hit me—what if I actually tried to make it delicious? It seems strange that the thought had never occurred to me before, but sometimes you take things that are “good” for granted, and never think about what would make them amazing.
The biggest revelation in this whole experiment was the tuna itself. I always used to just grab whatever tuna was on sale, I thought all tuna was pretty much the same. But, friends… this is not true. I happened to pick up this Wild Planet Albacore Tuna at Costco, which frankly, makes me wonder why I ever bought any other kind. You can tell the difference as soon as you open the can…it doesn’t have that pungent tuna smell that can drive you crazy. It smells like tuna, yes, but not so much so that you wonder if your nostrils will ever recover. And instead of a big, wet, mass of pinkish stuff, it’s actually a big chunk of a tuna steak. Imagine! I promise they are not paying me to tell you this, but I was super impressed by this tuna, and think it made a huge difference in how delicious my melts were. I’m a convert. Ok. Point made. Moving on.
After my tuna enlightenment, I decided that too much mayo doesn’t help a tuna melt, so I cut that way back and added a nice amount of lemon juice. Instead of pickles or relish, I used capers, which were absolutely wonderful. They’re salty and briny, which is perfect against the bright acidity of the lemon and the sharp bits of red onion. I added some red bell pepper, for some sweetness and crunch. And a pretty hefty amount of black pepper. I gave it a taste. Then another. Then another. Wow! Tuna salad? This is better than any tuna salad I’ve ever had.
Instead of the typical slice of sandwich bread or a spongy English muffin, I decided that the base of my melt would be some good crusty bread that I had leftover from dinner the night before. This works perfectly because it’s sturdy enough to retain its chewy insides but is also super crispy around the edges.
Cheddar is pretty much the ultimate for tuna melts; it just works so well. I decided not to mess with it. I will note, though, that if you want that gorgeously melting bubbly topping, with long strings of cheese that ooze from each bite, there is a secret. Ready for it? Shred your own cheese. And when you shred it, push the long side of the cheese down the box grater, so you get nice loooong shreds of cheese instead of little nubs. Don’t buy the stuff in the bag. Trust me. That stuff has cellulose (mmm wood pulp, anyone?) and stuff in it, and it doesn’t melt the same way. I usually hate to be so specific—I mean, you can do what you want—but if you truly want the ultimate tuna melt, that’s how you get it.
I know you’re thinking that this can’t possibly be worth buying the special tuna and shredding your own cheese and blah blah blah… but, yes, it is. This tuna melt is so good that when I took the first bite, my eyes got really big, like in a cartoon, and I sighed. Well, that answered that question. If I tried to actually take a tuna melt from good to amazing, it worked—resulting in me eating a lot more tuna melts.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author and are not necessarily a reflection of the opinions and views of Wild Planet Foods. The content provided (and any linked or referenced materials) should not be construed as medical advice. Should you have any health or nutrition-related questions, please consult a doctor or healthcare practitioner.
The author received products from Wild Planet for editorial purposes only. The opinions and recommendations are solely those of the author and were not influenced by Wild Planet Foods in any way.