Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Something's fishy...and cheesy!

I love tuna.

I love it in sandwiches. In macaroni and cheese. In pot pies. In dip. I think there is very little you can't do with a can of tuna.

Even pizza.

"Tonnato" is a classic Italian sauce, usually surved on veal, sometimes turkey. A tomato-y sauce filled with Italian, oil-packed tuna. (Nothing better than Italian, oil-packed tuna if you can find it.) And that would make a damn fine pizza. But that's not what I'm talking about.

When I think tuna and cheese, I think tuna melt. But I've seen more than one kid look at my lovely tuna goodness and default to "ewwwww!"

Now, it's not that my tuna is full of weird and inexplicable ingredients. My tuna is a simple thing. I don’t chop lots of veggies. I don’t carefully slice a dozen imported black olives. (Although my son would be in seventh heaven if I did, the little weirdo.)

If you want to throw in capers, or start with a sushi-grade loin of albacore, that’s between you and your God. For me, a tuna melt is the height of ease and comfort, the kind of thing made best
by a diner because it is so very simple. Like grilled cheese or a perfect pancake, there’s no sense in making something convoluted just because you can.

Turning a one-person tuna melt into a pizza that can serve four or more? That’s in perfect keeping with what makes a diner classic a dinner staple.

1 pre-baked pizza crust (I use pre-baked here so the crust gets crispier, just like with a classic tuna melt. But that doesn't mean you can't start with dough. It still tastes delicious with a doughy crust. If you do that, skip the oil, and bake for about 10-15 minutes, until the crust just starts to get golden brown.)
Olive oil
2 small cans (or 1 large can) tuna
¼ c. dill pickle relish (optional)
¼ c. Miracle Whip (or mayo, if, like my husband, you insist)
Salt and pepper
1 c. shredded colby jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pizza crust on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 5-7 minutes, just until warmed through and beginning to turn golden. Remove and cool. Don’t turn that oven off yet.

Mix tuna with pickle relish, Miracle Whip and salt and pepper to taste. (Like your tuna runnier? Me too. You can add more Miracle Whip if you want, but trust me, too much makes a drippy pie.) Spread tuna salad over crust. Top with cheese, scattering evenly, but making sure as much of the tuna is covered as possible. If this requires more cheese, go for it.

Bake 5-10 minutes, just until cheese is melted but not browned.

Extra Extra!

Diner Table – When is a diner a diner, and when is it just another place to get breakfast? It’s a question akin to creationism versus the Big Bang Theory, and one just as likely to provoke vehement responses. While some people say that a diner is defined by the food it serves, others go with the strict Webster’s Dictionary version, “a restaurant in the shape of a railroad dining car.” (Source: www.dinercity.com)

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