best ever tuna melt.

boy do i love a good tuna melt.

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i remember the first time i had tuna melts with my neighbor growing up (hi katy!)…except i thought she called them “tuna boats.” maybe she did. i thought they were called tuna boats for a long time. her family would make them open-face on bagels with tuna and cheddar.

i think this might have been some of my first experiences using a big oven, besides chocolate chip cookies. i think we attempted making tuna melts in the microwave and we quickly learned that that was disgusting.

we’d make a lot of other microwaved delicacies like tortillas with refried beans and cheese, marshmallows on graham crackers, hot pockets…all the classics. then we’d do weird stuff like set the microwave for 30 seconds and see how many times we could run around the living room and back down the hall to the kitchen before it beeped. this is what pre-internet 90’s kids did for fun!

i’m sure once our tuna boats made it safely out of the oven, we’d plop down to watch full house or one of the other greats of our childhood. gooooooood times.

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my grown up tuna melt is so very delicious.

adding the right mixture of ingredients to the tuna is key. plain tuna with mayo is fine, but i highly encourage you to make your tuna with mayo, black pepper and a pinch of salt, pepperoncini juice and sliced green onions.

i don’t know how to spell pepperoncini and i don’t think the internet does either. it either has 1 P or 2 P’s and an N in the middle or no N, and nobody seems to know what’s right. the jar says “peperoncini.” anyhoo…

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the green onion and pepperoncini juice and black pepper really do it for me on a tuna melt.

if i’m making plain tuna sandwiches, peter likes chopped up dill pickles and a splash of pickle juice, but on a tuna melt i personally just want the flavor of the green onion instead. and the pepperoncini juice gives it that acidic kick. pete and i have strong, strong opinions against sweet pickles in tuna sandwiches and/or fried chicken sandwiches orrrr anywhere, lol. we’ve come across so many restaurants that use sweet pickles in these items and we are plum confused by it. dill pickles or nothing! in this case, pepperoncini juice.

pepperoncinis remind me of quizno’s. another throwback delicacy of my late youth. it’s not so great anymore, but in the early 2000’s quizno’s was the jam. that honey bacon clubbbbbb of 2001…mmmmm. “they got a peppa barrrrrr!”

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this particular size of tuna melt could be cut in two and shared - buuut if you’re really really hungry you could eat the whole thing :)

it’s my favorite combo of all the things and it’s tuna melt perfection in my eyes. i hope you try it!

Best Ever Tuna Melt

Serves 1-2, Easily Multiplied

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • (1) 7-ounce can tuna fish, drained well (I use Albacore in water)

  • 2 TB mayonnaise

  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

  • big pinch of salt

  • 1-2 TB pepperoncini juice, or dill pickle juice

  • 3 green onion shoots

  • 2-3 slices sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 a large avocado

  • handful of fresh arugula

  • (1) 1” thick slice of good sourdough bread

Instructions-

Slice the sourdough bread and toast it in a pan on medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil until golden. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, or use the broiler.

Drain the tuna fish in the can and add the tuna to a bowl with the mayonnaise, salt & pepper, green onions and pepperoncini or dill pickle juice. Mash everything with a fork until well combined. If too dry, add extra pepperoncini juice or mayo.

With the grilled bread on a baking sheet, top it with the tuna mixture. Place the slices of sharp cheddar cheese on top. Place the baking sheet in the oven or broiler for about 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is super melty.

Remove from oven and top with sliced avocado, extra chopped green onion, and fresh arugula.

Enjoy immediately!

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marinated mushroom & fontina pizza.

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mmmmmmushroom pizzaaaaaaa.

the inspiration for this baby comes straight from the menu at the masonry, a wood-fire pizza place in seattle that some of our mutual friends opened several years ago.

their mushroom pizza is my jammmmm, and i love the stinky cheese they make it with. i think about that mushroom zaw all the time. so i decided to make my own.

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i wanted the mushrooms to be more flavorful on my homemade version, so i marinated them in garlicky olive oil with a bit of red wine vinegar and thyme.

the usual taleggio cheese that they use on their mushroom pizza was substituted here with fontina, and it worked just as well! super mild, but still just stinky and melty enough for my liking.

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i’ve been using the pizza dough recipe from half baked harvest cookbook on our pizza stone for a while now. it turns out really well…but obviously the main thing standing between me and top notch homemade pizza is a wood fire pizza oven.

one day….

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this pizza is pretty simple, but the flavor is most excellent!

it is a bit elevated if you’re feeling like kind of a “fancy” homemade zaw. what i mean to say is, the fontina cheese is more expensive than your standard pizza mozzarella.

the marinated mushrooms are so flavorful and tender. you can use the remaining garlic from the marinade directly on the dough. then top with fontina cheese and all the mushrooms. delicious!

after baking, top with fresh thyme, arugula & red chile pepper flakes and enjoy thoroughly :)

Marinated Mushroom & Fontina Pizza

Makes One 12” Pizza

Active Time: 30 minutes, Total Time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough: (Adapted from the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook!)

  • 1/2 cup warm water

  • 1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast

  • 1 TB. honey

  • 1 cup bread flour

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1 TB. extra virgin olive oil

Marinated Mushrooms:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 5-6 garlic cloves

  • 6 large crimini mushrooms, cut into chunks or slices

  • splashes of red wine vinegar

  • salt, pepper, fresh thyme

Toppings:

  • 4 ounces fontina cheese, or another mild but kind of stinky cheese

  • fresh arugula, optional

  • red chile flakes, optional

Instructions-

For the dough, add warm water, honey, and yeast to a medium bowl and whisk. Let sit for about 10 minutes until it gets a bit foamy. Add the bread flour and salt, mix and use your hands to knead the dough together for a few minutes. Add a sprinkle of flour if it's too sticky.

Use the olive oil to grease another large bowl and transfer the dough to this bowl, turning the dough to coat in oil. Cover with a warm damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until about doubled in size. You can make the dough in advance and freeze it in plastic wrap if you need to.

To marinate the mushrooms, slice the garlic cloves and put them in the 1/2 cup of olive oil in a jar and let it infuse overnight or for a couple hours with a pinch of salt & pepper (this infusion step is optional, but it makes the olive oil very garlicky!). Place the sliced mushrooms in a shallow dish and pour the garlic infused olive oil over top and toss gently to coat. Add a couple splashes of red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with some fresh thyme and cover with plastic wrap. Marinate at room temperature for 2 hours, tossing the mushrooms occasionally.

If using a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven as hot as you can while you prepare the pizza, about 500 degrees F. 

After the dough is risen, punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. If you're using a baking sheet and not a pizza stone, you can turn out the dough onto a lightly greased & floured baking sheet. Roll out as thin as you can, about 1/4 inch thick. 

Heat oven to 450 degrees F whether you're using a pizza stone or a baking sheet. If you're using a pizza stone, the oven should be BLAZING HOT from preheating the stone, so be careful. We even bought a pizza peel for this step. 

Once the dough is rolled out to 1/4” thick, sprinkle some of the garlic from the mushroom marinade onto the dough. Spread the fontina cheese all over and almost to the edges. Top with the marinated mushrooms.

I usually build the pizza on top of a piece of parchment sprinkled with corn meal so that I can shimmy the pizza from the parchment onto the hot pizza stone (also sprinkled with corn meal) in the oven. This step is very precarious, so be alert :)

Bake the pizza at 450 degrees F for 16-18 minutes, until cheese is melty and crust is golden brown. Carefully remove from oven using a pizza peel or scoot the pizza onto a large cutting board with a kitchen tool. Slice and serve immediately!

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