Simplicity. Easy and quick to prepare, Tuna Melts provide a nice little dinner on those busy days transcending into evening activities from sports practice to a board meeting.
The first time I ever had a Tuna Melt on an English muffin must have been at someone’s home for lunch.
Served on half of an English muffin then topped with a slice of cheese and baked until golden brown seemed a tasty concept and I’ve been preparing them ever since, even longer than twenty-five years, yikes.
Until recently, I always assumed, and I’m not sure why, perhaps because I had them at someone’s home for lunch, that the Tuna Melt was the creation of Thomas’ English muffins with the recipe printed on the package.
There is an assumption that every answer may be found on the internet, perhaps true to a certain extent. Alternatively, if one cannot easily find an answer on a web search, then perhaps there is not a definitive answer.
Curious on the origins of the Tuna Melt, after an hour or so of reading on and on, I’m not sure I came up with a definitive answer. It did become apparent that without claim, Thomas’ English Muffins did not invent the tuna melt, nor did Star Kist or Bumble Bee.
Tuna companies beginning around the First World War did promote tuna salad in a salad version popularly providing protein in needed nutrition, including those of the troops. I found a good story on the history of canned tuna if you would like to learn about it here.
Reading along, I was rather pleased to see some of the original tuna fish recipes, and that of Fannie Farmer at the time included two ingredients in tuna and salads that I have always incorporated, parsley and celery.
My other two personal ingredients of choice include scallions, both the white and green parts, along with some fresh squeezed lemon juice enhancing the flavor slightly, and providing good combined flavors for a lesser amount of ‘real’ mayonnaise which serves as a bit of a binder, a touch of creamy taste, but not too much, thus enabling each among the ingredients to stand on their own.
Finishing off the tastiness of this easy dish, there is the melted cheese topping. You may grate whichever type you prefer. I typically use whatever I have a nice chunk of in my fridg such as Gruyere, a good cheddar, or provolone. Always sprinkled on top is some dried or fresh oregano, whose idea may have come by observation at a friends house for lunch over twenty-five years ago, the time I first imagined the notion that Tuna Melts were the creation of Thomas’ English Muffins.
- 3 English Muffins sliced in half
- 2- 5 ounce cans albacore tuna in water, drained
- 1 large stalk celery, chopped
- 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped very thinly
- 1/8 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons real mayonnaise such as Hellman's
- Juice of half a small lemon
- a couple pinches each, coarse kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 cup, approximately, shredded hard cheese such as Gruyere, cheddar, provolone
- sprinkle of dried oregano
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
- In a glass bowl fork the tuna Stir in the celery, scallions, and parsley
- Add in the mayonnaise, stir to blend
- Squeeze in the lemon juice, sprinkle in the salt and pepper
- Top each half of an English muffin with the tuna salad
- Scatter on the shredded cheese
- Sprinkle with oregano
- Bake approximately ten minutes then another few minutes under the broiler until cheese is golden brown