One of the big decisions in high school was whether to buy a lunch in the cafeteria or to bring a lunch. Because my parents were the definition of thrift, part of my daily routine was making my lunch. Since I am a creature of habit, I made the same brown bagger every day. A peanut butter and jam sandwich plus an apple in the fall or an orange in the winter.
There were other sandwich options, of course. Lunchmeat and cheese with Miracle Whip. That strange creation of my father's - jam and cheese. Or tuna fish. Tuna fish was right out. It was disgusting as a brown bag sandwich. The moisture from the pickles and mayonnaise seeped into the fluffy white bread, turning it into mush, leaving the tuna dry and nasty. Plus, it smelled up my whole locker.
With that background, it's hardly surprising that I haven't been a big fan of tuna. Then I made an amazing discovery. There are differences in tuna. No, you say, reeling in surprise. Yes, I say, it's true! The cheapest can at the grocery store is not necessarily a bargain if nobody will eat it. Invest in a nice white albacore, packed in oil, and you'll see why some people actually like tuna.
I got a grill pan last year and I've been playing with it, trying new sandwich combo's. This one was so good I needed to share it with you. First of all, the bread is my new go-to favorite for panini sandwiches. It's Sourdough Ciabatta and the recipe is on King Arthur's website. It's really just about foolproof. A couple of times I've had to leave the house in mid-bread preparation and my husband has shaped and baked the loaves and they've turned out just great. Not that I'm calling my husband a fool, but showing that the instructions are clear enough for an engineer to follow.
For the sandwich innards, I wish the pictures could show you how amazing it is. This is not the boring tuna sandwich of my youth. It delivers an amazing flavor punch from the combination of artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, capers, onions, and fresh herbs.
If you think of yourself as a tuna hater, this might be the sandwich to persuade you otherwise. Give it a try. Lunchtime will never be the same.
Tuna Artichoke Panini
- adapted from love and olive oil (blog)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon zest
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts (about 1/3 cup), liquid reserved
1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp fresh oregano leaves or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can albacore tuna, packed in oil, drained
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
Sourdough Ciabatta Bread
1- Preheat the panini maker.
2- Combine the mayonnaise, lemon zest, capers, parmesan cheese, oregano, and 2 Tbsp of the artichoke liquid in a food processor. Pulse 4 to 5 times till well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
3- Chop the artichoke hearts and combine in a bowl with the tuna, red onion, tomato. Stir in the mayonnaise mixture.
4- Slice a loaf of the ciabatta in half horizontally. Cut pieces as big as you want for your sandwiches.
5- Spread the mixture over the bread. Brush top and bottom of the sandwich with olive oil. Cook until filling is heated and both sides are golden brown.