Tuna Melt



Yield: 6 Servings

2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 (1/2 pound) tuna steak, about 1-inch thick
½ pound Olive Oil Poached Tuna (recipe above)
½ cup reserved tuna poaching oil
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons drained and chopped capers
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 slices thick white bread
6 (1-ounce) slices Swiss cheese
24 slices pickles
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

To Prepare the Olive Oil Poached Tuna
Combine olive oil, crushed red pepper, bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the tuna to the pan and bring the oil to a simmer. Simmer the tuna steak, turning once, until barley pink in the center, about 15 minutes. Transfer tuna to a plate to cool and scrape off any crushed red pepper or peppercorns. Strain the poaching oil through a fine-meshed sieve and discard the solids. Reserve about ½ cup of the poaching oil.

To Prepare the Tuna Melt
Combine cooled, poached tuna and reserved oil in a large mixing bowl. Add red onion, capers, vinegar, salt, crushed red pepper and black pepper and toss, flaking the tuna, until well combined.

Arrange one slice of cheese on each of six bread slices. Evenly divide the tuna mixture between the six sandwiches. Top each with 4 pickles and remaining bread slices. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add two sandwiches and press with a heavy sandwich press or iron skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add one more tablespoon of butter, turn sandwiches, press, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown.  Remove from the heat and cut in half. Repeat with remaining butter and sandwiches. Serve hot.

GDA Cooking - March 11, 2011