Tuna Melts

tuna melt

Makes 4

I love this classic diner staple, but it is usually overloaded with mayonnaise and cheese and made with albacore or dark tuna fish, which is far less flavorful than unctuous yellowfin packed in oil. There should only be two ingredients listed on the jar or can of tuna: yellowfin tuna and olive oil.

10 ounces canned Italian tuna in oil, drained
1⁄2 cup Cucumber Yogurt Dip 
(page 37) or store-bought tzatziki
1⁄4 medium red onion, diced
1⁄2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
8 slices whole grain bread
4 slices Gruyère cheese or other melting cheese
4 leaves green leaf lettuce or Romaine, or 1⁄2 cup packed arugula or any leafy green
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (dill, parsley, mint)
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 avocado, pitted and cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices

Combine the tuna and dip in a bowl and fold together with a fork just until the tuna is nicely coated yet still chunky. Add the onion and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the lemon juice and gently fold together.

Lightly toast the bread in a toaster oven or under the broiler. Place a slice of cheese on 4 of the slices and return to the oven to melt.

Meanwhile, toss the greens in the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon lemon juice and the olive oil. Toss in the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Divide the greens among the remaining 4 slices of bread. Scoop an equal amount of tuna over the greens, fan the avocado slices over, and top with the toasted cheese slices, cheese side down. Cut the sandwiches on the diagonal and serve.

NOTE: I like to toast the bread and melt the cheese first so the tuna and other ingredients remain at room temperature. They are textually brighter and so much fresher-looking.

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