The perfect tuna melt is a beautiful thing. Flaky tuna, offset with tangy cheese and crisp buttery bread, its success lies in its simplicity. When done properly, the sandwich can rival anything that the world’s best delis can throw at it. Many have adopted and adapted their own unique takes on the treasured classic, and now, supermodel-come-cook Chrissy Teigen has thrown her own recipe into the ring.
In her latest cookbook, “Cravings”, Teigen writes:
“I know my tuna, therefore I make the best effing tuna sandwich. I butter the bread to within an inch of its life and then fry the whole thing in a skillet until the cheddar melts into a cheesy river and the bread is basically a giant buttery cracker.”
The key to Teigen’s recipe is the addition of several further components to compliment the traditional cheese and tuna combo. Dijon mustard, onions, relish and tomato also make their way into the sandwich, in what might be seem by some as an unwelcome break from tradition. However, one look at the end result and it becomes very difficult to argue.
The tuna melt is not the only comfort food recipe that gets a distinctly Teigen twist in her latest literary outing. The book centres around recreating classic dishes and giving them a distinctive voice. The recipes on offer include “roasted bacon” as well as tuna casserole topped with tortilla chips, inspiring chefs everywhere to think differently about food that may be familiar.
As part of a family with deep roots in food, Teigen has always been inspired by the kitchen. In a recent interview with Self, she spoke of the influence that spending time with her Thai mother, making food from Southeast Asia has had on her. The traditional recipe-less approach has clearly inspired Teigen to make uncomplicated, unpretentious food that is easy for people to interpret in their own way.
The success Teigen has so far enjoyed is indicative of her ability to make real recipes that real people really want to eat. The tuna melt is no exception.
To help you recreate this epic tuna melt at home, here is the recipe in full:
- 2 (5-ounce) cans water-packed white tuna, drained
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup finely diced onion
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 slices country white bread
- 6 slices vine-ripened tomato
- 6 thick or 12 thin cheddar cheese slices
“In a bowl, combine the tuna, mayo, onion, relish, mustard, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper and mix until incorporated.
“Spread the butter on one side of each piece of bread, then flip the slices over so they are buttered-side down. Divide the tuna mixture between two slices of bread, then top with the tomato slices and cheddar. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top, buttered-side up.
“Heat a heavy skillet over low heat and toast the sandwiches in it until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden and toasty, five to six minutes per side.”
Thank goodness for Chrissy Teigen!