2010/11/19

Comforting comfort food

For one of my technical writing courses, we had an assignment on writing procedures. We had to come up with a recipe for something that we make just out of our heads.

I'm the default chef in this house, because I love to cook and my sweetie loves what I make. It's a successful combination. I do make some dishes without a recipe. I don't need a book to whip up something like pasta primavera. And even when I start with a recipe, I often make changes. Still, much of what I make originated from Ken Hom or Jamie Oliver or some recipe from the interwebs.

So I went with an original, more or less, and I kept it simple and slightly cheeky: a tuna melt. Not just any tuna melt. A really yummy, very melty tuna melt. (The formatting is a bit different than the version I handed in because that was done in Word. And that griddle isn't as horrid looking as it seems in the picture—honest!)

How to Make a Brilliant Tuna Melt

These instructions presume that you have a basic knowledge of food preparation, but the recipe and technique are quite simple. Almost anyone can make a tuna melt!

Presentation, right?
Equipment
  • A flat-bottom pan large enough for a slice of bread to fit, such as a non-stick square griddle
  • A pan cover larger than the bread but smaller than the pan you’re using
  • A spatula (plastic if you’re using a non-stick skillet)
  • A bowl or plate in which to make tuna salad
  • A fork and a knife

The tuna salad part
Very likely, you already know how to make tuna salad. Most people can put together a tuna sandwich. But just in case you need help, here are the ingredients:
  • One can tuna
  • Mayonnaise
  • Your seasoning of choice
The procedure:
  1. Open and drain the can of tuna.
  2. Put the tuna onto a plate or into a mixing bowl.
  3. Add seasoning and enough mayonnaise to pull it all together. You can also use only part of the can of tuna and store the rest in a container (not the can) in the refrigerator.
Caution: Do not put too much mayonnaise into the tuna salad. Later, that will result in a very messy tuna melt. Use enough to hold the tuna together. You can add more, but you can’t remove it.

Some people also like things like chopped celery in tuna salad. If you do, go for it!

The grilling part
Here are the rest of the ingredients:
  • Two slices of bread
  • Cheese
  • Soft margarine (or softened butter)
The procedure:
  1. Heat the pan or griddle on a medium-low flame (or medium low on an electric range).
  2. Put as much tuna as you want on one slice of bread.
  3. Top with the cheese of your choice—something that melts but doesn’t turn liquid works best.
  4. Top with the other slice of bread.
  5. Lightly spread margarine on the outside of the top slice and put the sandwich with that side down on the heated pan.
An alternative to using soft margarine is to melt butter in the pan itself, then put the sandwich on it to grill. You will probably have to do it again for the other side.

There's a sangwich under there
Tip: Take the pan cover, centre it on the sandwich, and push down for a few seconds. This is to substitute for the sandwich irons you see in restaurant kitchens. Leave the cover in place while the sandwich is cooking, which will help heat up the filling.

Important! Make sure the pan is not too hot. If it is, you will end up with nicely grilled bread very quickly but cold tuna salad and cheese that has not melted.

The bread should take only a few minutes to brown. Remove the pan cover and lightly spread margarine on the top slice. With the spatula, carefully flip the sandwich over. Replace the pan cover, and grill for a few minutes more.

Remove the sandwich from the griddle. Slice it if you wish. And enjoy!

4 comments:

MgS said...

I made veggie chili for dinner yesterday - yummy!

... but then again with our temperatures dropping to -20C, a bowlful of spicy goodness sounds awful appealing - especially when served with lots of cheese buns!

Anji said...

I used to make croque monsieur like that before Olivier showed me how to make it the restaurant way. Sounds really good, I'll try it out.

Holly R. said...

Mmm. Definitely going to try this.

Véronique said...

@Anji: Croque monsieur is the high fat version. :) Closest variant I found was a croque norvegien, with smoked salmon (which sounds yummy!).

@Holly: Soon, tuna melts will be everywhere!