The Best Tuna for Tuna Melts
Solid tuna canned in extra virgin olive oil makes the best tuna sandwich, melted or classic. The olive oil intensifies the tuna’s flavor. If you don’t like the taste of the oil the tuna is canned in, drain the oil and add your own extra virgin olive oil.
Likewise, if you can only find tuna canned in water, drain the liquid from the tuna and add a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil. Chunk light tuna can make a mushy tuna salad, so look for solid tuna.
The brands of canned tuna we most often use are Wild Planet Albacore Solid Wild Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Genova Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil. You can also find good options at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. It might take some experimenting before you find a brand you like.
The Secret to a Toasty Tuna Melt
A tuna melt is more or less a deluxe grilled cheese. Spread the outside of the bread with butter so it gets golden-brown and toasty in the skillet.
The other secret? Don’t rush it! We all know how disappointing it is to burn a sandwich. Take it easy and use medium heat, which will get that bread nice and toasty — and melt that cheese — without burning the bread.
Swaps & Substitutions
- Use fresh or dried dill instead of the tarragon.
- Use Swiss, Havarti, provolone, muenster, or orange cheddar instead of the white cheddar cheese.
- Use a minced shallot or sliced chives instead of the green onion.
- Add some diced celery or water chestnuts for crunch.
- Use sturdy rye or whole wheat bread.
- Add a chopped hard boiled egg to the tuna salad.
More Favorite Tunafish Recipes!