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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cipollini cacio e pepe.

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glorified buttered noodles of our childhoods.

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who doesn’t love a buttery noodle? lol. i always liked red sauce as a kid, so when i saw friends who didn’t like red sauce on spaghetti putting butter on their noodles i was like oooooooh. butterrrrr. cool.

cacio e pepe is such a delicious, simple yet elevated pasta dish you can put together in about 15 minutes.

the purists don’t use any onion but i used minced cipollini onion in the skillet to pep it up a notch. garlic would also be amazing obviously, but i tried not to stray too far from the traditional basic ingredients.

don’t forget to reserve a cup of the pasta water after cooking the noodles. this step is key!

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when i usually make spaghetti i just toss it with olive oil at the end to keep the noodles from sticking and immediately add red sauce. but if you don’t intend to use pasta sauce, you must reserve some pasta water and toss it with the cooked noodles in a cast iron pan (ideally, cast iron) to keep the noodles smooth and not clumped together. then melt in that cheeeesey goodness and dinna is served.

and extra black pepper and red pepper flakes for me! and a spot of vino, of course.

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gimme that wintery pile of comfort.

Cipollini Onion Cacio e Pepe

Serves 2-3

Total Time: 15 minutes

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces bucatini or spaghetti noodles

  • kosher salt

  • 3 TB. unsalted butter

  • 1 cipollini onion, minced

  • 2 - 3 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

  • 1 cup shaved parmesan & romano cheese (I found a shaved blend of these cheeses at the store)

  • crushed red chili flakes

Instructions-

Boil 6 cups of water in a medium pot with a big pinch of salt. Once boiling, add the dry noodles and cook 7 or 8 minutes (or to 2 minutes before noodles are actually tender). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before straining the noodles.

Mince the cipollini onion. In a cast iron skillet, melt 2 TB of unsalted butter on medium heat and add the onion and 2 tsp. of black pepper. Toss until onions are tender and mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add 1/2 a cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan and stir. Bring to a simmer. Add the drained noodles and remaining TB of butter to the cast iron pan and toss with tongs to coat the noodles with moisture.

Reduce heat to low and add 1/2 cup of the shaved parmesan cheese, tossing with tongs to melt. Add 1/4 cup of water if the noodles seem dry or sticky. You want the pasta water and cheese to coat the noodles and be smooth.

Add remaining cheese and toss to melt. To me, this part resembles the sticky marshmallow texture when you make rice krispy treats on the stove. Toss with extra black pepper and a pinch of salt if desired.

Serve immediately with crushed red chili flakes, extra shaved parmesan or romano cheese, and basil, if desired.

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