One of the World’s Great Sandwiches Is Making a Comeback

American home kitchens are in an unprecedented moment, where the most pedestrian supermarket staples can be as valuable as finicky homemade products.

Which makes this the perfect time to celebrate the tuna melt, one of the most supermarket-driven of sandwiches. It’s made from canned tuna, mayonnaise, and sliced cheese from the dairy aisle—not dependent on decent produce, like, say, a BLT. What makes it shine now is the increasing availability of high-quality tinned fish.

The tuna melt

6-oz. can of oil-packed tuna, drained
¼ cup diced red onion
1 scallion, white and light green parts, finely chopped
3 tbsp. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
Hot sauce, such as Tabasco
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 slices of rustic bread
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 slices of sharp Cheddar cheese
Ketchup (recipe follows), or your favorite store-bought bottle

In a medium bowl mix the tuna, red onion, scallion, parsley, mayonnaise, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Butter each slice of bread on one side. Divide the tuna mixture on the unbuttered side of 2 bread slices and top with the Cheddar and then the other 2 bread slices, buttered sides up. Warm a griddle or cast-iron skillet over moderate heat and fry the sandwiches, carefully turning once, until the bread is crusty and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes per side. Serve hot with ketchup.


Makes about 2 cups

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup chopped red onion
One 14-oz. can peeled whole tomatoes
1 ½ tbsp. tomato puree
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar, plus more to taste
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and red onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, and vinegar and cook over low heat, breaking up the tomatoes, until thick, about 8 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to a small blender and puree. Season the ketchup with salt and pepper, and more brown sugar, if desired.

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