So, the strangest thing happened the other day. I was overcome with a sudden and uncontrollable urge to eat a tuna melt. I don’t think I ever ordered/made/ate tuna melts when I lived in America, and it’s certainly not one of the things that I miss about the US. I was grabbing a sandwich at the local chain “Paul,” when the guy in front of me asked them to heat his ham and cheese sandwich up. Since they serve quiche and pizza and stuff, they have a little Salamander-like broiler that is perfect for toasting sandwiches – something I never would have thought of asking! Inspired by the guy in front of me, I ordered the same thing. When it was my turn to pay, the cashier chatted me up about broiling sandwiches. She told me that she does the same thing, but that the only sandwich they don’t heat up is the tuna salad, although sometimes clients asked them to. She thought it sounded disgusting. I didn’t. The next day we just happened to have a nice baguette lying around, and some fresh, crisp fennel, and of course a can of tuna in the cupboard. I warned Jérôme that I was about to make him an American classic that, let’s face it, doesn’t sound very appetizing, and got to work.
It all came together in about five minutes. If you add the 10 minutes of broiler time, you can have a delicious, nostalgic, fast and sort-of healthy lunch in about 15 minutes. The finely sliced fennel gave the tuna salad some depth, and added a lovely crunch. The toasted baguette was genius, and the melty comté cheese, mixed with the cream cheese in the tuna salad itself, was the perfect, gooey touch.
Quick tuna melts with fennel
Ingrédients (serves 2):
1 can of tuna, drained
1/4 fennel bulb, finely sliced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 teaspoon finely diced shallot
Salt and pepper to taste
Thin slices of comté or cheddar cheese
Preheat your oven to 415°. Cut the baguette in half and place it on a baking sheet (lined with aluminum foil or wax paper to catch the cheese drippings!). In a large bowl, combine tuna, mayonnaise, cream cheese, fennel and shallot, and season to taste. Mix until the tuna breaks apart and you have tuna salad!
Divide the tuna salad between the two baguette halves and top with the cheese slices. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes until the baguette is crisp and cheese is melted (leave in for an additional minute or two on the broiler setting for meltier cheese). Eat right away with a side salad, and have napkins handy!