Approaching tuna-melt perfection, Tommy Habetz's sandwiches have the ideal tuna-to-cheese ratio. His smart idea: using balsamic vinaigrette in place of mayonnaise.
2 6-ounce cans albacore tuna
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ciabatta rolls, split
Dijon mustard and mayonnaise, for spreading
8 1/4-inch-thick slices of Swiss or cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
Sixteen 1/8-inch-thick lengthwise slices of kosher dill pickle
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
How to Make It
In a medium bowl, mix the tuna with the onion, olive oil, vinegar, basil and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a panini press or griddle. Spread the cut sides of the rolls with mustard and mayonnaise and top each roll half with a slice of cheese. Spread the tuna salad on the bottoms and cover with the pickles. Close the sandwiches and spread the outsides of the rolls with the butter.
Add the sandwiches to the press and cook over moderate heat until the cheese is melted, about 6 minutes. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.
These were just okay; nothing terribly special. I could barely taste the vinegar even though I added more than called for. The best part was the fresh basil, which I might make a point of adding to my regular tuna sandwiches, but I wouldn't bother with these again.
This recipe takes canned tuna and makes a restaurant quality sandwich. A delicious blend of flavors...I especially liked the addition of the balsamic vinegar. If you don't like heat, cut back on the chili pepper flakes.
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