As Pam noted in the "Best Tuna Melt" section of her New Jersey entry on Celebrating the States, my usual open-mindedness with respect to food (and most other things, other than Dunkin' Donuts), generally fails me when it comes to tuna. I do not eat tuna salad unless I am at home, and then only if I have made it or a trusted family member has made it under my supervision. For me, incidentally, it is not really a "salad" since it only has tuna, mayo, and ground black pepper.
As Pam rightly predicted in that same entry, my willingness to eat -- and even enjoy -- a tuna melt in which the tuna was polluted with celery and onions did not mean I had turned over a new leaf in this area of gastronomy. Strict limits are still in place. (Sorry to call onion a pollutant -- in its proper place, of course, I love it! Its proper place is anywhere but tuna salad.)
The bottom line, I suppose, is that I have some issues with the preparation of tuna. I rarely prepare tuna melts, but for some reason today I had a hankering for them, and arriving home for lunch just a few minutes ahead of Pam, I decided to surprise her with one (one each, that is).
I made tuna "salad" in my conventional way -- a can of tuna in water (squeezing the water in our dog's food dish -- all of our dogs have loved that) with a minimal mix of reduced-calorie mayonnaise (Hellman's: let's not even talk about Miracle Whip, since this is a family blog) and fresh-ground black pepper. I grilled this on regular whole wheat sandwich bread with freshly shredded Cabot cheeses (Monterrey Jack and extra sharp cheddar), in the style of grilled cheeses about which we've been blogging of late.
Nothing terribly innovative so far, except that this is the first tuna melt I have made since we got grilled-cheese religion, and I stacked the shredded cheese as high as it would go, giving it plenty of time to melt down before flipping the sandwiches.
Here is the innovation, though: on my own sandwich, I added a couple tablespoons of what I call "hots" -- jarred, crushed red pepper. I often order this on deli sandwiches, but never thought to get it for home use until I recently noticed it on a grocery shelf. In this case, it is Gouveia brand, imported to New Bedford from the Azores (an Atlantic archipelago that is part of Portugal).
I would never have thought to blog about this, because it was a simple recipe, but Pam pointed out that we have not posted much lately, so to keep up a weekly pace, I should mention it. Though the meal (which included milk, tortilla chips, and canned peaches with cinnamon) was not fancy, it did meet the main criteria for lunch: nutritious, delicious, easy and cheap!