The classic tuna melt brings to mind toasty bread, cheddar cheese, canned tuna, and plenty of mayo, but our call for your best tuna melt recipes in our second Best of LA contest (for a dinner for two at Best Tuna Melt Winner Grub) had us thinking about pepperoncini, capers, and red onion—lots of red onion—in new ways.
After much deliberation, contest judges Lesley Bargar Suter (Los Angeles magazine’s Dine Editor) and Shayna Rose Arnold (Online Content Manager of LAmag.com) chose four out of the about 50 recipes that were submitted to test. They split up the ingredients list, hit three markets and one bakery, doled out about $100 and settled in for an afternoon of cooking.
Three-and-half hours, countless dollops of mayonnaise, and several mounds of cheese later they emerged from the kitchen with four delicious—and very different—melts. Each was methodically tasted by Lesley, Shayna, and former LAmager Michael Mullen (who came along for the fun) with every aspect of overall “yumminess” taken into account. Survival was questionable, but a lifetime of tuna melt cravings was fulfilled and a winner was selected:
Congratulations Ellen Bloom!
Here’s her recipe:
1 can albacore tuna, packed in water (drained)
3 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 tsp. pickle relish
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 tsp. Philippe’s mustard
1 slice Trader Joe’s Havarti w/ dill cheese
Thin slices of purple onion
Rye bread from Diamond Bakery on Fairfax, sliced thin
Concoct the tuna with the first five ingredients above.
Butter 2 slices of rye bread, top with tuna, purple onion and cheese.
Broil in toaster over for about 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Ellen’s tuna melt was eggy– and undeniably scrumptious. Although the sandwich was a little on the mayo-y side, her sweet pickle relish, tangy mustard and smooth havarti cheese with dill mix were a welcome take on an old favorite.
Update: We’re happy to hear that Ellen had a wonderul time at Grub. Read all about her experience here.
Photograph courtesy Flickr/kweezy mcG