Yesterday was a day filled with special events. As you may know, it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Inauguration Day and I made sure the entire festivities were recorded on my DVR. But if you’re involved in the specialty food business, yesterday was important for another reason. It was the second day of the Winter Fancy Food Show at Moscone Center in San Francisco.
It's the second year in a row I’ve attended this event, and I've had so much fun discovering what the latest food trends are. I can't wait to share with you what I've learned! I also met the manufacturers of some of my favorite products, such as California Lavash. They are a bread company that just went through a beautiful design makeover in which I participated.
It was great to see Lilea and the California Lavash team at booth #503 (you can still see them today), and I was so proud of how the backdrop turned out. I food-styled all the dishes and the photos were my contribution to the new look of this delicious product.
It seemed only fitting to share one of the delicious sandwiches featured at the California Lavash booth. I selected the tuna melt, which is perfect choice for the season. A combination of tuna, artichoke, olives and cheese is the filling of the delicious warm sandwich. Give this a try with California Lavash Sangak bread and you won't be disappointed! Sangak bread is a sesame-studded Persian bread that is part of their new flatbread product line. You'll be able to see the new packaging design in stores in a few months.
Servings: 8 sandwiches
1 (5.6-ounce) tin white tuna, drained and separated
1 (8.3-ounce) package grilled artichoke hearts (or marinated artichokes), coarsely chopped
⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, coarsely chopped
¼ cup cured green olives, pitted and chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard, optional
½ teaspoon hot sauce, optional
1 cup arugula
1 lemon, zested and freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons flat parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 thin slices provolone cheese (see tips), halved
4 sheets noor thin bread (or any flat bread)
Prepping the filling:
In a mixing bowl, combine the tuna, artichokes, red onions, olives, caper, parsley and sun-dried tomatoes. Season with lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper and hot sauce (if using). Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and arugula. Toss well.
Preheat your panini press.
Spread mustard on one side of the inside of the sandwiches. Drizzle the outside of the sandwiches with olive oil.
Place one piece of bread (the one without mustard), sesame side down onto the hot grill. Layer the sandwich with a thin slice of provolone cheese, spread the tuna mixture and finish with another thin slice of cheese. Close the sandwich with the second piece of bread (sesame side up). Close the panini press and cook until you get light grill marks (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from the machine. Let the panini cool a bit and cut the sandwiches into quarters (wedges). Transfer to a serving platter.
Serve warm or at room temperature with potato chips on the side.
I use a Cuisinart panini press. This is my favorite brand of panini maker; two kinds of plates (flat and griddle) are provided and they are removable and easy to wash. This is very convenient when you're making sandwiches for a large crowd. You could also use a griddle pan and press the sandwich using a cast iron press or any other weight such as a brick wrapped in aluminum foil.
I used Roland brand grilled artichoke hearts.
Some people might add mayonnaise; we wanted to keep the sandwich healthy so we didn't.
You can use any kind of cheese that is stringy when melted, such as cheddar, Gruyère, Comté or Beaufort.
For a vegetarian version, I replaced the tuna with lentil fritters.