Long time no see, eh? We kind of disappeared off the map the last couple weeks, seeing as we just moved across the country. But after a 30-hour drive and ample time to recuperate, we’re back with some brunch, which ended up being a meal I had a random and passionate craving for mid-week: a tuna melt.
Tuna melts always sound like greasy diner food to me, so I wanted to clean it up a bit – something hearty and flavorful with minimum processed ingredients. We accomplished this by using mashed chickpeas as the tuna base, homemade cashew mayo, and a vegetable-based cheese sauce with just a bit of cheddar Daiya for gooeyness. Instead of frying fries, we baked ’em instead, and served it all with a side salad to green things up a bit.
Open-Faced Tuna Melt
Makes about 8 toasts
For the chickpea salad:
1/2 cup cashews
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons hot mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons neutral oil
2 generous cups cooked chickpeas, lightly mashed
1/2 cup diced dill pickles
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup finely chopped dill
In a blender, combine the cashews, lemon juice, sugar, soy sauce, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder and water and blend until smooth. With the blender still running, slowly drizzle in the oil until emulsified. Since we have a very large blender, we made a double batch of the mayo sauce, and it turned out just fine.
In a large bowl, combine the mashed chickpeas, pickles, celery, onion and dill and stir. Stir in the blended cashew mixture.
For the vegetable cheese sauce:
Follow my old recipe here. The only changes I make to it after all this time is to use fresh mustard instead of powdered, and to sometimes use more salt. It also tastes good with some nooch too, though it works just as well without it.
6-8 slices of bread
1 large tomato, slices
Cheese sauce mixture
Daiya cheddar cheese
First, toast the bread and preheat the oven to broil. Place all the toasts on the baking sheet. Add a tomato slice (or two) to each piece of toast, and then spoon on as much tuna mixture as you like, about 1/4 cup per slice of bread. Drizzle on a generous amount of cheese sauce to each toast (about 2 tablespoons), and top with a sprinkle of cheddar Daiya (or a few thinly sliced cheddar pieces). Place in the oven underneath the broiler for 3-5 minutes, rotating the pan if necessary, until everything is warm and gooey and the cheese has melted and browned slightly. Serve toasts with baked fries and a side salad. Enjoy!
For the baked sesame fries:
2 medium russet potatoes, washed
2 tablespoons neutral oil
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Dash salt and pepper
Julienne the potatoes into fry shapes and rinse them. In a large bowl, soak the fries in warm water for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Drain the potatoes and dry with a clean rag, toss with the neutral oil, and bake on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the fries, adding a little more oil if necessary, and bake another 15 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes. When they’re done, place ’em in a medium bowl and toss with the sesame oil, sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Enjoy!
These fries were among the best baked fries we’ve made to date, and they really are worth trying with the addition of toasted sesame oil and seeds – they add a little savory somethin’ somethin’. Of course, I can’t wrap up this blog post without one more comment on the tuna melt – it was gooey and decadent without being overly greasy or salty, which was exactly what I was in the mood for this morning. Brunch win!