You may be wondering why my first post of the year is a tuna sandwich. I don't really have a good answer, only that I was craving one the other day and I thought, "You know, I bet people might actually like this." And that's about it. No other reason.
My relationship with tuna salad (I realize how bizarre that sounds) goes as far back as my junior year of high school, when I became pescatarian. We were a household that always brought our lunches (with the occasional exception when I'd order a side of fries and a sugar cookie from the cafeteria). Up until that point, I was a turkey sandwich guy. Maybe roast beef. Or, sometimes, my father would slice leftover meatloaf and place that on top of two pieces of bread with mayonnaise (I still give him a hard time about this). So, I needed to figure out what to bring. Which led me to tuna. And I ate lots and lots of it. Surprisingly, I never got sick of it (even more surprising was the fact that I still had friends who wanted to sit next to me as I devoured this fragrant lunch).
So, that's my history with tuna. I'm still rather partial to it and will often throw it on top of salad, but recently I was just in the mood for a sandwich. I kept things on the healthier side by mixing the tuna with just a touch of mayo. The bread is spread with a creamy, garlicky white bean dip. Quick pickles will always add some depth (both in flavor and texture) to a sandwich, which is where the fennel and radish come into play. It may seem like a lot of elements, but, trust me, it's worth it.
Tuna Sandwich with Pickled Fennel and Radish + White Bean Spread
Yield Makes 4 sandwiches
IngredientsFor the pickled vegetables 1 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced 4 radishes, very thinly sliced 1/4 cup cider vinegar 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the white bean dip 1 small onion, coarsely chopped 1 garlic clove, minced olive oil 2, 15 oz cans of cannellini beans 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped Lemon juice Salt Black pepper
For the tuna 2, 5 oz cans tuna, drained of any liquid 1 tablespoon mayonnaise 1.5 tablespoons chopped scallion, green part only Salt Black pepper
Sandwich ingredients 8 pieces thickly sliced ciabatta Butter Mixed greens
DirectionsTo make the pickled vegetables 1. Place the sliced fennel and radish into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with salt and then cover with vinegar. Let sit for 30 minutes.
To make the white bean dip 1. In a medium pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Sautee onion for 3 minutes over and season with salt and black pepper. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add beans and rosemary to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Take off heat.
2. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree mixture along with juice of half a lemon. If necessary, thin out with a couple teaspoons of cold water.
To make the tuna salad 1. Add the tuna to a bowl along with mayonnaise, chopped scallion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and coarsely ground black pepper. Gently toss to combine.
To assemble the sandwich Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place in a pan over high heat and cook until golden brown (depending on your preference, some darker areas are ok as well).
Spread the white bean spread onto the inner side (uncooked portion) of the each slice of bread. Spoon tuna onto four of the halves, followed by the pickled vegetables and some mixed greens. Place the other slice of bread on top, press down gently, and then cut sandwiches in half. Enjoy!