i already know what you’re thinking…
Ashley, you hate cheese. you don’t like it when people heat up mayo. you BARELY like tuna (i hate pretty much every fish ever). so what the heck are you doing sharing TUNA MELTS on a tuesday in April when we could be talking about a bajillion other, tastier things.
i get it. but here’s the thing. i can’t. we can’t. we HAVE to talk about these. because they’re quick, easy, healthier than that third piece of pizza, and as usual… they’re boyfriend approved so i know they taste good even with the… cheese (ew.)
the real motivation behind this post is the tuna. i used to be a strictly tuna + mayo girl. nothing else was welcome in my tuna salad. (frankie was the same way FYI, so if you’re feeling like that right now TAKE OFF YOUR SKEPTICAL PANTS).
my mother, the saint that she was, would always make two batches of tuna. one for me and my brother and one her way. im 90% sure that my brother and i were the most picky humans to ever be birthed. and not even in a complimentary way. i hated all things dairy (no cheese, no milk, no butter). austin hated all things healthy (i.e. no vegetables – except corn, the kid loved corn). so i think mom was just happy we agreed on the way we liked tuna, even if it differed from her tastes.
I’d have to ask her, but i think putting relish in tuna started with my grandpa. and it just continued on to my mom. i took one look at the green goopy stuff going into tuna and said absolutely not. i was a gem. i loved pickles, especially sweet gerkins… but chop them up and call it relish and there was no way i would ever touch it. ever.
i think it was a couple years ago that she tricked me into trying it, because even as an adult i still need to be tricked into trying new things.
i was SHOCKED that i liked it. the sweetness really drives the flavor home. i haven’t looked back. not once.
i don’t think mom puts mustard in her tuna. that’s a trick i picked up from Jen at Peas and Crayons when i was testing the waters with healthier tuna variations. none of them stuck, but the mustard did.
and now that i make my own mayo, the tuna is perfect. the balance is exactly where it should be. a balance of flavors and a balance of memories. am i putting too much pressure on a bowl of tuna? probably. oh well.
OH OH OH. mom also taught me to mix a can of lite and can of white tuna together. <- protip
dare i say that my changes have “health-i-fied” tuna? who am i kidding? i just really live by the rule that any time i make an ingredient it magically becomes healthy (aka. when you make homemade mayo and include it in tuna –> HEALTHY)
also, i gotta say. a schmear (i can’t say smear like a normal human EVER) of grainy dijon is GORG. doesn’t get much better.
i’ve been eating tuna on toasted english muffins for FOREVER. i have distinct memories of eating tuna on an english muffin as my lunch EVERY DAY over summer break. it’s nostalgic and it reminds me of jumping on a trampoline or swimming in the pool with my brother. oh and salt and vinegar chips. because i’d ALWAYS top my tuna with salt and vinegar chips.
when austin was still little and i’d be at home with him during the summer, i’d occasionally make us a “picnic”. i’d make us sandwiches and “pack” us baggies of chips and i’d grab a blanket and juice boxes and we’d either lay out in the grass or we’d climb up to a huge, flat, smooth rock in the shade by our driveway and we’d lounge around and spend a good hour laughing and looking up at the clouds.
so whenever i eat tuna on an english muffin or peanut butter and jelly i think back to those summers, those moments.
and that’s exactly how I eat this. just a toasted muffin and MY version of tuna. but for frankie… it’s a little more upscale. i’m sure he’d be just as happy with how i eat them, but i like to branch out and try different things out on him.
these stuck. majorly.
he wasn’t sold on the red onion, but ended up LOVING IT.
he also wasn’t originally sold on my version of tuna either. i used to make two batches like my mom did so he could “try it” and the first few times i made us tuna he was still testing out the waters. Now he’s sold. he see’s the light.
so! the hardest part of this whole shebang is making the tuna. that’s it. why? because the two other “hardest” parts have been solved:
- draining the tuna. i found a WONDERFUL invention. the can colander. i bought one. it’s like $6. best $6 i’ve ever spent. by far. well… actually
- slicing the onion. i HATE slicing onions, do you? i know the solution. buy the inspiralizer. it makes “slicing” an onion a breeze. i just spiralize a whole one, use what i need, and then store the rest of the slices for salads or other sandwiches or whatever i want. it’s GENIUS. and plus you don’t have to worry about cutting yourself trying to get super thin slices (because you really should use super thin slices here, you just want a BITE of flavor – not the whole onion).
i really needed to share this with you because a) i know we’re all looking for things we can whip together super quick for weeknight dinners and b) because frankie asked for them OVER and OVER again. plus, its easy to customize to suit different tastes! don’t like onions? add red pepper. don’t like cheese? leave it off! hit the whole family’s tastebuds with one dish!
plus. just look at how into it he is. do i need to see it any further?
- 2 cans of tuna in water (i like 1 can of chunk lite and 1 can chunk white, but it's up to you!)
- 3 tablespoons mayo (use homemade if you have it!)
- 1 tablespoon relish
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 4 english muffins
- 1 red onion, spiralized (or thinly sliced)
- 8 slices cheddar cheese
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Open/slice the english muffins and put them on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven while it's preheating to toast, they can stay in there anywhere from 3-5 minutes (if you're only making 1-2 melts at a time, you could just toast the muffins in a toaster, but using the oven lets you do them all at once).
- Drain the water from the cans of tuna. In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the tuna until well combined.
- Remove the english muffins from the oven and divide the tuna across each of the muffin halves. Place a few of the red onion spirals on top of the tuna. Lay a piece of cheese over the red onion.
- Return the muffins, with their fixings, to the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over the melted cheese and serve.
LOOK AT THAT SPREAD. sigh.
Make it? Lemme see it! Hashtag it: #thepikeplacekitchen
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