The Savoury Sandwich: Old Bay Tuna Melt with Cheddar and Basil
Taking a cue from Maine lobster rolls, this New England-style take on tuna transports you to a beachy state of mind any time of year. Chef Spencer Rubin, founder of Melt Shop in New York City, mimics the flavour of shellfish with his ingenious blend of fish-shack seasonings: celery, Tabasco and fish spice. Our tuna melt raises the ante with a cloak of cheddar cheese and fresh basil.
jalapeño + celery + Tabasco + Ina Paarman’s Fish Spice
Spice up your tuna melt.
In a large bowl, combine 3 cans of water-packed tuna (drained) with 2 teaspoons seeded, minced jalapeño; ½ cup finely diced celery; 1 teaspoon Tabasco; 1 teaspoon Ina Paarman’s Fish Spice and ½ cup light mayo. On a baking sheet, divide the mixture among 4 slices of country bread; top with sliced extra-sharp cheddar and fresh basil leaves. Bake at 270°C until the sandwiches are bubbly, 7 to 8 minutes.
Switch Up Your Sandwich
Try this melt with Swiss, mozzarella or Muenster, slide a tomato slice under the cheese if you like, and feel free to swap in another herb for the basil.
The Quick Dinner Recipe
Jamie Bissonnette, chef of Coppa restaurant in Boston, has a knack for creating umami-packed dishes you want to linger over. His mix-ins for canned tuna fit the bill, adding bright acidity, a hit of spice and a dose of brininess. Tossed with hot pasta and wilted greens, canned tuna makes a surprisingly satisfying sauce. Leftovers are delicious straight from the fridge.
lemon + anchovies + chilli flakes
Blend tuna into a creamy sauce, then toss with hot pasta.
Juice and zest one large lemon; reserve. Cook 250g fusilli (or other curly pasta) per package directions; drain, saving ½ cup of cooking water. While the pasta cooks, drain 2 cans of tuna in vegetable oil, saving 3 tablespoons of the oil. Combine the tuna, reserved oil, lemon juice, 2 jarred anchovies and ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. In a large bowl, toss the hot drained pasta with tuna sauce (thinned with pasta water if necessary), 5 cups rocket, the lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with grated Parmesan and plenty of freshly ground pepper.
Tunisian Tuna Salad with Olives and Parsley
The Spicy Twist
This North African take on the classic Niçoise salad comes from Michael Solomonov, the award-winning chef of Zahav in Philadelphia. Here he tweaks the salad’s flavours in a more North African direction, adding a dose of heat, acidity, and sourness to the dish. Solomonov likes to serve it in a sandwich; we ditched the bread and came up with a killer salad.
Black olives + parsley + preserved lemon + pickles + harissa
Pair briny tuna with other tastes from the Mediterranean.
In a large bowl, combine 3 tins of light meat chunk tuna with vegetable oil (drained), 3 tablespoons sliced black olives, 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon, 1 teaspoon prepared harissa paste and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Chop 3 romaine hearts into a serving bowl. Top with 4 quartered hard-boiled eggs, 2 sliced cooked red potatoes, 2 chopped tomatoes and 2 sliced salt-brined pickles. Top with the tuna mixture. Whisk together 6 tablespoons olive oil, 4 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper; drizzle over the salad.