Truthfully, I didn’t have an actual ‘tuna melt’ until sometime in my early 20’s. I’m not sure why, but it was always something I steered away from when I saw it on menus.
Basic tuna salad, however, was something I grew up eating regularly, whether it was in sandwich form or with crackers. My mom is a tuna queen. We always had a few cans in the cupboard, and when in doubt a good tuna sandwich was always an easy and delicious meal.
Anyway, it’s no secret that cheese is one of the great loves of my life. If I had the choice, I would try and add cheese to all of my recipes. So, when I finally happened to sneak a bite of my husband’s tuna melt at restaurant one afternoon, I knew it was something I had to recreate at home.
Since then, this tuna melt has been a regular staple in our kitchen. When it feels like we don’t have any food in the house, we always seem to have the ingredients to make tuna melts. The ease of this recipe and the few ingredients it includes make it one of our go-to meals. It might not be very fancy but it sure is tasty.
Keep in mind I’m constantly searching for ways to make to make my tuna salad even more delicious. I find that tuna salad is a pretty personal and versatile dish. There are a thousand ways to make it, and everyone seems to prefer it a different way.
Even though I have made this recipe over and over again, it’s hard for me to get it to taste the same each time. Sometimes I add a little extra mayo, sometimes some more sriracha or mustard. Depending on the day, it always turns out a little different but basically includes a combination of the ingredients below. This is the first time I’ve documented exactly how much and what I put into this recipe, so feel free to make it your own.
Open-Faced Tuna Melt
Makes 4 -5 sandwiches
4-5 slices sandwich bread
2 cans (7 oz.) solid albacore tuna
2 celery stalks finely chopped
1/4 large red onion finely chopped
1/3 cup of good mayonnaise
Juice of one lemon
1/8 cup chopped golden Greek pepperoncini's
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sriracha
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sharp cheddar cheese
To Make the Sandwiches
Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
Drain the tuna. Add celery and onion to a medium bowl and then add tuna. Mix in mayonnaise, lemon juice and pepperoncini’s. Then add the Dijon mustard and sriracha. Sprinkle in a dash of salt and pepper. At this point, you will want to taste the mixture to see how you like the consistency and the flavor. Depending on how spicy you want it, you may choose to add more sriracha. We typically add about a tablespoon and a half, but that’s because we like things to have a lot of kick.
Arrange the bread on a baking sheet. Add a few heaping spoonful’s of the tuna mixture onto each slice and spread them evenly across the bread.
Side note - You will probably end up having some tuna leftover. Feel free to add to the sandwiches to make them extra hardy or save for later and add to a bed of fresh lettuce for a delicious salad.
After the tuna is distributed nicely across the bread, top each with 4-5 slices of cheese. I like to make sure that there is enough cheese on the bread to perfectly cover the tuna.
Put the sandwiches in the oven on the highest rack for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted completely and is slightly browned on top. Remove from oven.