One of the hardest parts about cooking for yourself is deciding what to cook. I don’t know about you, but my biggest obstacle is that I’m always trying to think of something complex with multiple courses. I ignore the simple pleasures.
Like a good, cozy tuna melt sandwich.
Yet this is Korea. How can I make it unique?
Canned tuna is popular in Korea. People buy gift sets of canned tuna to give during holidays. Canners respond to the popularity and competition by making new flavors of tuna. One that I have grown fond of is a hot pepper tuna. And this is what I use in my tuna salad.
So, here is where my constantly developing tuna salad recipe currently stands. I combine two cans of hot pepper tuna with, half a finely diced onion, finely diced sweet pickles, a few finely diced olives, some lemon juice, and enough mayonnaise to hold it all together. I then chill it in the fridge to let the flavors come together.
I like my grilled sandwiches to be toasted on the inside and outside, so there’s a strategy to this that I learned when I cooked at a place that specialized in double-decker grilled cheese sandwiches. First, have some slices of cheese on the ready. Processed is fine. I have been using that coveted cheddar and sharp cheddar I recently found at E-Mart. Also have four pats of butter ready to go, along with two slices of bread.
I heat up the skillet on medium heat and put a pat of butter on bread slice #1. I place #1 butter side down and move it around to evenly melt the butter around the bread. While it’s grilling, I put a pat of butter on the exposed side of #1. When the bottom is toasty, I flip it over and quickly add slice #2, butter side down. On the toasted upper side of #1, I place the cheese and tuna mixture on top to start heating and melting.
Here’s the part that requires skill. When #2 is toasted on one side, I place the toasted side on top of the tuna and cheese with the untoasted side exposed. I now have a sandwich that is 3/4 toasted. I place the final pat of butter on the untoasted side and carefully flip it over.
When the whole sandwich is toasted, I place it on a cutting board and cut it diagonally. This sandwich goes great with any kind of soup — especially a Korean soup.