Monday, September 28, 2015

Neon Tuna Melt with Roasted Red Pepper

     Neon Tuna Salad!
     The Tuna Melt is a classic American sandwich.  Tuna Melts were first offered on menus sometime back in the mid 1900's.  In the 1950's and 1960's, Tuna Melt Sandwiches could be found on nearly every menu at casual diner style restaurants from coast to coast.
     In the 1970's, the Tuna Melt was the top choice of health conscious people.  Back in those days, there were few healthy menu options.  The only health food choices were the Hearts Of Health Salad, The Diet Burger Platter and the good old Tuna Melt.
     Back in the '70's, Tuna Salad was promoted as being healthy weight loss diet food too.  Ladies that wanted to shed a few extra pounds chose the Tuna Melt menu item over anything else.  As one can imagine, a Tuna Melt actually has the opposite effect!  The fatty mayonnaise, butter and cheese negates whatever low calorie health benefits the tunafish offered.
     After weighing the differences between a Tuna Melt and a Patty Melt, the Tuna Melt is only a healthier choice by a slim margin.  As everybody knows, it is the flavor that counts and Tuna Melt Sandwiches are simply irresistible, especially when hungry after dieting all week.  For a customer on a diet, ordering a Tuna Melt is like giving into indulgence, with the only saving grace being the fact that the guilt free dietary food word "Tuna" appears in the name of this sandwich!  
     Irresistible indulgence!  When tuna salad is heated, it has a rich cheesy tuna casserole kind of aroma that is simply mouthwatering.  Just forget about willpower and give in!  Resistance is futile!

     The Neon Tuna Melt name of today's sandwich refers to Chicago Style Neon Relish.  Neon Relish has a bright bluish green color.  The Greek spices in Neon Relish create a unique flavor that tastes great with tuna.
     For making a gourmet Tuna Salad, roasted or poached fresh tuna can be chilled, then flaked.  This is a lot of extra work and this is why canned tuna is preferred by most cooks for making tuna salad.  Some brands of canned tuna are better than others.  As always, it is best to select a brand from a company that employees good seafood stock sustainability policies.
     When making tuna salad, it is important to drain off any excess water on the tuna meat.  Pressing the tuna meat against a fine mesh strainer is the best way to drain the water off of tuna.   
     Neon Tuna Salad: 
     This recipe yields enough tuna salad for 2 sandwiches.   
     Step 1:  Completely drain the water off of 5 ounces of canned tuna.
     Step 2:  Place the tuna in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Chicago Style Neon Relish.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced celery.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of finely minced roasted red bell pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of turmeric.
     Add 1 tiny pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Step 3:  Add just enough mayonnaise to bind the ingredients together.  (About 2 to 3 tablespoons is plenty.  The tuna salad should look fairly dry and not wet.)
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 4:  Refrigerate the tuna salad for 30 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Neon Tuna Melt Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers: 
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich.
     Step 1:  Heat a griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Brush 2 slices of marble rye bread with melted unsalted butter and place them on the pan.
     Immediately place a few thin slices of cheddar cheese on bread.
     When the bread is lightly toasted and the cheese has melted, set the grilled cheese bread slices aside on a dish.  Keep the dish warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Keep the griddle on medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 roasted red bell pepper that is split in half.
     Heat the roasted pepper half for a few seconds and place it on one of the grilled cheese sandwich halves.
     Step 3:  Place about a 3 to 4 ounce scoop of the Neon Tuna Salad on the griddle.
     Use a spatula to flatten the Neon Tuna Salad, so it looks like a patty shape.
     Grill the Neon Tuna Salad Patty, till it warms up.
     Step 4:  Use a spatula place the grilled neon tuna salad on top of the roasted red pepper on the sandwich.
     Spread the warm tuna salad, so it covers the entire sandwich half.
     Step 5:  Set the other grilled cheese sandwich half on top of the tuna salad.
     Cut the sandwich in half and set it on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with endive lettuce and pickles.
     *Persian pickled wild cucumbers, pickled pink turnips, Arabic scratched olives and black olives are the pickles selected for the plate in the photos. 
     The plate in the photos looks totally neon!

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