The Ultimate Tuna Melt

Mmm, the tuna melt.  One of my favorite sandwiches of all time.  I have heard countless chefs say that cheese is never supposed to go with fish, but I don’t understand what they’re talking about.  I mean, what about the sandwich that has been a staple on diner menus across this country for decades?  Have they never had the pleasure of eating this warm, delicious treat?  And this version, served open-faced, is literally the best I have ever had.  If you belong to the tuna melt fan club (of which I am the president) then you are going to love this!  So, without further ado, I give you…..the ultimate tuna melt.

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The Ultimate Tuna Melt

Ingredients:
Thinly sliced artisan bread, 3 or 4 slices
1 large can of wild-caught chunk light tuna, drained
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 ribs celery, cut in half lengthwise and diced
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
Sliced Provolone cheese
Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste
Butter
Non-stick cooking spray
Chopped parsley

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and then wipe with a paper towel.

2. Mix tuna, mayonnaise, celery, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together in a bowl

3. Butter the slices of bread and place butter side down on baking sheet.

4. Place one or two slices of tomato on each slice of bread, enough to cover it.

5. Divide tuna evenly among the sandwiches, spreading to cover the entire slice.

6. Top with two or three slices of provolone for each sandwich, enough to cover the entire slice.

7. Place baking sheet in oven for 10 minutes. Remove and garnish each slice with chopped parsley. Return to oven for 8 – 10 minutes longer, or until the cheese has browned nicely but is not burned.

8. Grab your fork and knife and dive in! Be careful, though, the tuna and tomato are hot. Serve with a lightly dressed salad or your favorite chip. Enjoy!

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Jerk Chicken Wrap For One

Recipe yields one wrap. To serve two, double each amount per ingredients.

Ingredients:

For Wrap

  • 1 Agave tortilla
  • 4 oz. pre-cooked Jerk seasoned chicken
  • 2 leaves of lettuce
  • 3 sliced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fruit salsa

For Fruit Salsa

  • 1 small pineapple diced
  • 1 small star fruit diced
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp chopped cilantro

Instructions:
1. Mix all ingredients in mixing bowl and let sit. If needed, it can refrigerate for up to 2 days.
2. Place lettuce on wrap followed by sliced tomato, salsa & chicken.
3. Roll up and cut in half or to desired size.

Makes 1 Wrap/Sandwich

Courtesy of Chef James Harris of Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City

Barbecue Jackfruit Sandwiches

I had been wanting to try a recipe for jackfruit barbecue for a while now, so when I visited my local Asian market and saw they had the canned jackfruit, I decided now was the time to give it a go.  There are many, many recipes for jackfruit barbecue out there, but I decided to go with this one from More Vegan Blog and it did not disappoint.  It does have a few steps but they aren’t difficult at all.  It just takes a little time to gather your ingredients, measure, and prep.  I promise you it is worth it.

This recipe calls for 3 cans of jackfruit in brine or water, but I only used two and it made enough for three people to eat their fill and still have enough for three more sandwiches the next day.  It will keep in the fridge for several days, so if you would like to have more leftovers or are feeding a larger group of people, you may want to go ahead and use the three cans.  I didn’t adjust any of the other ingredients and it still came out absolutely delicious.  I think if I were to make three cans I may even increase the amount of barbecue sauce as I prefer my barbecue to be a bit wet and this was perfect with just the two cans.  It may mean that it would be a bit drier if I had used three cans, so just use your own judgment to adjust it for your own taste.

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These 20 oz. cans of jackfruit were only $2.59 at my local Asian market and the rest of the ingredients are common pantry staples, so this recipe does not cost a lot to make and goes a long way.  Be sure to get the young or green jackfruit in brine or water and not the ripe jackfruit in syrup.  If you cannot find jackfruit locally, you can order it online through a number of sources but be sure to check out your local Asian markets first as they are likely to carry it.  And if they don’t have it, they can probably tell you where you can find it .

The jackfruit has this amazing combination of texture where the core is more solid and the edges are striated like gills so they shred or pull apart perfectly while you still get the meaty chunks from the core.  You may have to sort of squeeze through the pieces of jackfruit a bit to pop out the seeds, but it’s not necessary as they are edible.  It may change the texture of the pulled jackfruit a bit if you leave them in, but it will still taste amazing.  That is up to personal preference but I went ahead and removed as many as I could.  I mean, just look at this meaty pile of awesomeness!  Enjoy!

Jackfruit BBQ 2

Barbecue Pulled Jackfruit (canned)
Prep Time:  10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time:  55 mins
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
3-20 oz. cans jackfruit in water or brine
1 tsp. olive oil
½ onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1½ tsp. liquid smoke
1 cup vegetable broth
½ cup vegan and/or gluten-free BBQ sauce (your favorite store bought or homemade kind)
Buns for pulled pork sandwiches (for gluten-free use either GF hamburger buns or bread)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drain and rinse the jackfruit, squeeze and separate the “gills” of the jackfruit.  As you do this, remove the seeds.
  3. Saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat for about 7 minutes or until translucent, then add the garlic and saute a minute or so longer.
  4. Add the jackfruit, sugar, spices, and liquid smoke. Stir until the jackfruit is evenly covered.
  5. Add the vegetable broth, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
  6. Use a spatula or two forks to mash and divide the jackfruit until it looks similar in appearance to pulled pork.
  7. Spread the jackfruit out on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cover with bbq sauce.
  9. Return the jackfruit to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the jackfruit is lightly browned.
  10. Serve and enjoy!