Piquant Tuna Melt with Smoked Cheese – A spicy grilled open sandwich with tangy tuna salad, served on toasted sourdough bread with smoked Cheddar cheese.
Great Sandwiches of the World
An American Classic
I love sandwiches, any kind of sandwich works for me…..toasted, open sandwiches, a burger (yes, I class this as a sandwich!) and even a pre-packed commercial sandwich can hit the spot when I am travelling or I’m Hank Marvin (Cockney rhyming slang for Starvin’) I’ve featured many sandwich recipes on Lavender and Lovage over the years, including other American classics such as THE REUBEN and a PATTY MELT. Then there’s the gentle art of British sarnies that are so loved, EGG & CRESS, WATERCRESS SANDWICHES and a FISH FINGER BUTTY. Other more exotic sandwiches to feature on Lavender & Lovage is the French PAN BAGNAT and the VIETNAMESE BÁNH MÌ SANDWICH.
And, as an avid baker (and bread baker) I love using alternative vehicles for a sandwich fillings, such as scones, muffins, pitta bread and wraps. But, today’s post and recipe is another American classic, the TUNA MELT, but for a slightly updated version, Piquant Tuna Melt with Smoked Cheese. Using some of my homemade sourdough bread, and a classic tuna salad recipe, I’ve added smoked Cheddar cheese for an extra flavour layer, as well as a smidgen of chilli sauce in in the tuna salad for a wee piquant kick.
So is there any history attached to the classic American Tuna Melt? Well according to Monte Mathews who writes for “Chewing the Fat”, these are some of the supposed origins of this famous sandwich:
“According a writer named Warren Bobrow, the Tuna Melt was invented in Charleston, South Carolina. Mr Bobrow writes that about 1965, at the Woolworth’s lunch counter on King Street, the ‘ladies’ were working at their assigned tasks while Chef Bo filled orders. One came in as follows: “I‘ll have a grilled cheese sandwich, white bread with a smear of mayo and slices of American cheese, “just as you like it”. Then according to Bobrow, ‘atop the griddle on a shelf, a freshly made tuna salad sits of the edge…and, as if guided by a hidden hand, the contents tip over, falling on the grilled cheese. Voilà! The Tuna Melt is born!” A tall tale no doubt because it gives no explanation for the fact that the English have an identical sandwich called ***Tuna Alex or Tuna James and not Tuna Bo. Finally, there’s reason to believe that the popularity of the Tuna Melt was largely the work of Kraft Foods who wanted to prove the versatility of their Velveeta Cheese” Chewing the Fat
***I have to say, I am English and I have never heard of a Tuna Alex or Tuna James, but, I’ll do some research into them!”
My recipe for Piquant Tuna Melt with Smoked Cheese is shared below, which is essentially a recipe for tuna salad, and then the method for using it in a tuna melt sandwich. Please do let me know if you make it and what your favourite sandwich is! See you soon, Karen
What’s your favourite sandwich? Do you have a recipe you can share here for it?