I found this recipe the other day online by accident. I was actually looking for a sloppy fish joe recipe (random, I know) and somehow this ended up in my Google list. It was published on Esquire’s website (again, random). My husband is a fan of tuna melts, so I thought I would give it a whirl. Un-believable! It was so amazingly delicious! I can’t wait to make it again. It would be perfect lake food. After a day out on the water, I’d love to curl up with a hot homemade one of these, and an ice-cold beer.
Take note: the ingredients are a little different than you may imagine, but I promise, they are what make this sandwich so special. Like the Esquire writer, Francine Maroukian, says: the flavor difference will leave people wondering why your sandwich is so familiar yet so much better.
• 8 oz Italian tuna packed in olive oil, drained, with 1 tbsp oil reserved
• Charred-rosemary mayonnaise (see below)
• 1/8 cup celery hearts, finely chopped
• 1/2 tsp celery seed
• Coarse salt and ground black pepper
• 4 slices multigrain bread
• 4 slices (about 4 oz) Gruyère cheese
• Unsalted butter
Gently flake tuna and place in stainless-steel bowl. Fold in desired amount of your homemade Charred-Rosemary Mayonnaise, chopped celery, and celery seed, adding salt and pepper to taste. Lay bread on work surface. Spread tuna on two slices and layer with Gruyère. Top with remaining bread slices and press lightly with the palm of your hand to bring tuna just to the edges of each sandwich. Melt a small amount of butter in a skillet over low heat and toast sandwiches until cheese melts and bread is golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to cutting board and cut in half on diagonal. Serve immediately.
• 2 stalks fresh rosemary
• 4 cups water
• 1 tsp white vinegar
• 1 large egg, cracked
• 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• Reserved tuna oil
Lightly char rosemary (hold stems with tongs and rotate through burner flame for about 10 seconds), strip leaves, and finely chop (yields about 1 tbsp). Bring 4 cups water to boil, reduce to simmer, and add vinegar. Ease egg into water, cooking until whites set but yolk is still runny, about 2 minutes. Transfer egg (as dry as possible) to blender (or bowl of food processor) with lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Slowly add oils, processing until thick and creamy. Add rosemary. Makes about 1 cup.
Evans is the chef and owner of Hugo’s and Duckfat in Portland, Maine. His favorite sandwich besides this one is the BLT from Rosie’s, also in Portland