Sunday, May 15, 2016

Grilled Tuna Carciofi Sandwich with Ditali Pasta Salad

     A Healthy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich!  
     A Grilled Tuna Carciofi Sandwich has a classic Italian flavor that is very satisfying.  Tuna, olive oil, artichokes and kalamata olives make this sandwich taste special.
     "Carciofi" translates  to artichoke in Italian language.  There is a classic Italian Veal Carciofi recipe that is made with Italian brown sauce, white wine, garlic and artichokes.  Olives are an optional ingredient in that veal recipe.  There also are a few of traditional Italian Carciofi pasta recipes.
     Pasta Salads are always a nice accompaniment for a sandwich.  Mayonnaise pasta salads are a classic choice.  The shape of Ditali Pasta adds an interesting look.  

     Ditali Pasta Salad:
     This recipe yields 2 to 3 portions
     Step 1:  Cook 1 cup of Ditali pasta in boiling water, till it is al dente.
     Cool the pasta under cold running water.
     Use a strainer to completely drain the water off of the pasta.
     Step 2:  Place the pasta in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 cup each of these small diced vegetables:
     - carrot
     - celery
     Add 1 thin sliced green onion.
     Step 3:  Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 4:  Add just enough mayonnaise to lightly coat the ingredients.  (Do not add too much mayonnaise or the salad will be runny, instead of being able to hold its own shape!  About 1/3 cup is plenty.)
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 5:  Place the pasta salad in a container.
     Chill to 41ºF in a refrigerator.
     Grilled Tuna Carciofi Sandwich:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich.   
     Not all canned tuna is created equal.  Some brands and styles are better than others.  At most Italian restaurants that I cooked in, Albacore Tuna Packed In Olive Oil was the top choice.  
     As an alternative to canned tuna, a piece of fresh tuna that is brushed with olive oil then baked is a nice choice.  Simply crumble and flake the baked tuna after it cools. 
     Step 1:  Drain the water (or oil) off of a can of quality tuna.
     Step 2:  Place 3 ounces of the tuna in a mixing bowl.
     Add 8 pitted Kalamata Olives.
     Add 3 sliced artichoke hearts.  (About 1/4" thick slices)
     Add 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Set the Carciofi mixture aside.
     Step 3:  Heat a seasoned cast iron griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Step 4:  Brush 2 slices of bread with olive oil.  (French Bread, Italian Bread, Sourdough or Rye Bread are good choices.)
     Place a few thin slices of Provolone Cheese on each slice of bread.
     Step 5:  Place the cheese bread slices on the griddle.
     Place the Tuna Carciofi mixture on 1 of the bread slices.
     Grill the bread till it is golden brown and the cheese melts,
     Step 6:  Place the 2 sandwich halves together.
     Cut the sandwich in half and place it on a plate.
     Use a ring mold to place the Ditali Pasta Salad on the plate.
     Garnish with Italian Parsley sprigs.
     The flavor of this Tuna Carciofi Sandwich is indescribably good tasting!  This is a very nice alternative to a standard tuna melt sandwich. 

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