The Secret Recipe Club and The All American Sandwich:
There is a tale to tell about the origins of the Tuna Melt – apparently this classic sandwich, the mainstay of many a late night diner has its roots in the deep South; Charleston, South Carolina to be exact. Like many popular regional recipes it was born of a mistake in a busy kitchen; when a diner asked for a “grilled cheese sandwich with a smear of mayo” at the Woolworth’s lunch counter on King’s Street in Charleston, a bowl of tuna salad that was above the griddle tipped over and fell on to the grilled cheese and happily “melted” into the gooey cheese on bread. The diner, a chap called Bo, was asked if he wanted to send the rather tasty smelling “mistake” back and have a new order made, but he declined and decided to try it – and so taken was he (and the staff who had made another melt by this time) with the new invention, that Woolworths decided to add it to their lunch time menu, and so the Tuna Melt was born! Well, that’s one tale anyway, there are more ideas about the tuna melt invention here, Who invented the Tuna Melt, and whatever the origins, it remains one of my favourite sandwiches, plus is so quick and easy to prepare.
So, when I was perusing through all the recipes of my “secret blog” this month as part of my participation in The Secret Recipe Club, I stopped short when I got to Tuna Melt! This month, I was assigned the lovely blog “Cook with Sara” and her recipe for Tuna Melts was my choice of recipe to make. It wasn’t an easy decision, as before I stumbled upon her tuna melt sandwich, I was also busy bookmarking Sara’s recipes for Baba Ghanoush, Chipotle Crab Dip, Chipotle Beef Ribs (Crock pot), Banana Scones, Bacon and Egg Pie, Bourbon Chicken and Fish Tacos! In fact, Sara has an amazing array of recipes to choose from and I was spoilt for choice. Sara is a Midwestern girl who loves to cook AND eat. She started cooking and baking at a young age, and one of her most famous desserts in elementary school was “cookie and fruit plate” which she lovingly wrote out on an index card when a friend of her parents asked her for the recipe! If you want to get to know Sara and her recipes better, than why not pop over to see her: About Sara, and don’t forget to take a doggy-bag!
Sara’s recipe also adds slices of tomatoes underneath the tuna salad, which we both loved, and her tuna salad mixture was very tasty, and includes chopped onion and pickle relish – but I did tweak the mixture and added a few extras. I also added chopped celery, cornichons (baby gherkins), spring onions, low-fat mayonnaise and a dash of Tabasco hot sauce for an extra kick. Sara suggests using burger buns – I used some wholemeal brown bread buns for extra fibre and also because we prefer brown bread over white, unless it’s lovely crusty baguette of course! Sara’s recipe is below, with my amendments in red.
(Cook with Sara)
2 x 5 oz cans tuna packed in water, drained (I used 1 x 120g tinned tuna in spring water)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion (I used 2 spring onions)
2 Tbsp. pickle relish (I used 6 small cornichons, chopped finely)
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used sliced Cheddar cheese, about 50g)
2-3 Tbsp. mayo or miracle whip (use as much dressing as you prefer) (I used low-fat mayonnaise)
2-3 hamburger buns or English muffins (I used 2 wholemeal brown bread buns)
Toast bread. Meanwhile, combine tuna, onions, pickles and mayo (and all the extra ingredients I used) in a medium bowl and mix well. Slice tomatoes and place a top bread. Spread tuna mixture over tomatoes. Place cheese on top of tuna mixture. Broil or toast (grill) until tuna is warm and cheese is melted. Makes 2-3 servings. (Two halves per serving.)
That’s all for today, I hope you enjoyed the “potted history” of the Tuna Melt and this recipe if you make it. Have a great week and I’ll be back soon with more recipes and culinary chat, Karen