Grilled Tuna Melt 4.000

Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post

May 22, 2013

This is a decidely different take on a classic sandwich. Look for canned tuna with a label indicating it has been pole- or troll-caught. Canned mackerel or pink salmon can be used instead of tuna.

You'll need to soak 1 cup of applewood chips in water for an hour.

Servings: 4
  • Two 5-ounce cans skipjack or albacore tuna (see headnote)
  • 3 tablespoons regular or low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 slices pumpernickel bread (not ultra-thin slices)
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, preferably a sharp white cheddar


Prepare the grill for direct and indirect heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium (350 to 375 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them on one side of the cooking area. You should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 4 seconds. Drain the applewood chips and place them on the coals. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames.

Open and drain the tuna. Combine it in a medium bowl with the mayonnaise, mace, coriander and a pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly to combine, then spread it evenly on all of the bread slices. Cut the cheese into 1/4-inch-thick slices and layer them over the tuna.

Place the open-faced sandwiches on the indirect-heat side of the grill. Close the lid and cook for 10 minutes or so, then check on the sandwiches. The bread should be lightly toasted on the bottom and the cheese completely melted. In the least obvious way possible, stick your finger into one of the sandwiches (maybe the one you serve to yourself!) to make sure the tuna has heated all the way through. If the sandwiches need more time, cover the grill and cook for 5 minutes.

Carefully remove the sandwiches from the grill and serve them immediately.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Where There's Smoke: Simple, Sustainable, Delicious Grilling," by Barton Seaver (Sterling Epicure, 2013).

Tested by Toni L. Sandys.

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