Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pimento Tuna Melt

The high tomorrow looks like it's not going to crawl up past zero. It's a good time to hunker down with some good, solid comfort food. Unfortunately, I decided to make a batch of tuna salad before I knew it was going to be so cold.

I love tuna salad, and it is comfort food of a kind for me, but more a cool summer pick-me-up than a rich hearty make me feel all warm and toasty inside when it's below freezing outside kind of comfort. As the temperature dropped, my thoughts turned to ways I could warm it up a bit.

And I thought about tuna melts. I had some leftover cheese from a batch of pimento cheese I made earlier last week. It's also more summer pick-me-up than winter warm-up (what was I thinking?). I toasted up some bread, covered it with the tuna salad, and layered slices of cheese on top.

And it was ok, but not spectacularly so. It needed something, but what?

I'll tell you what (no, not "chicken but", which for some strange reason pops into my head lately whenever anyone says "you know what?").

What it needed was pimento cheese. I can't believe it hasn't been done before, but I Googled "Pimento Tuna Melt" and, while I got quite a few tuna casserole recipes and several delis who offered both tuna melts and pimento cheese sandwiches on their menu, I didn't find any reference to anyone who used pimento cheese on a tuna melt.

And now I won't have one any other way. The pimentos give a whole new dimension to the flavors in the sandwich, and the cheese melts into a warm, gooey mess on top of the tuna salad. I suppose the fact that I used my own home-made whole wheat bread made the dish all the more tasty.
To make a tuna melt:

Turn on the broiler. Toast the bread. Put it on a cookie sheet and spoon tuna salad on top. Drop pimento cheese by the spoonful over the tuna salad. Put the cookie sheet under the broiler for about 2 minutes, checking frequently after the first minute to make sure it doesn't burn. Leave it under the broiler until the cheese is hot and bubbly, and has browned some. Remove from under the broiler and enjoy.
You can find my pimento cheese recipe here. I don't believe I've ever shared my recipe for tuna salad before. Everybody has their own way of making it. This is mine.


This is more a method than a recipe - adjust any/all of the ingredients to your own taste

4-6 hard boiled eggs, chopped fine
3-4 stalks celery, diced
1/4 small onion, finely diced
2 5-oz. cans tuna fish, well drained
pickle relish
garlic powder, cracked black pepper and salt to taste

Combine eggs, celery, onion, and tuna fish. Add a few teaspoons-full of pickle relish and about 1/4 cup of mayonnaise. Sprinkle with garlic powder, pepper and salt and mix well. Add more mayonnaise if necessary to desired consistency. Taste and adjust any seasonings as desired.

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