There's a reason that the tuna melt is a staple of greasy spoons and all-night diners. It fires on all cylinders bringing together savory, but lean tuna, creamy mayo, tart tomatoes, and rich cheddar cheese griddled to melty perfection between slices of bread. This is the kind of soul-satisfying fare that quiets hunger and then some. So it seems hard to imagine that there is any ingredient that can take a tuna melt up a notch, and yet there are pickles.
It may seem like an obvious choice, but sometimes the best ones are. What's great about pickles in this application — beyond their ubiquity and the fact that any diner worth its salt will have them on hand — is that they offer something that no other element of the tuna melt has: a salty, tangy, briny crunch. Pickles bring a bit of electricity to the at-times-bland tuna, they accentuate the acid of the tomato, they temper the richness of the mayo and cheese, and add a bit more moisture to balance the bread.
Now, many diners and restaurants use tuna salad on their tuna melts, which is fine and should mean that the sandwich, ipso facto, has pickles somewhere in it. But that's not what we're arguing for; this is a manifesto to say that pickle slices, in their own right, should be included on all tuna melts.
Any Kind Of Pickle Will Do
Admittedly, that position is a touch extreme. But once you've had a tuna melt boosted to new heights with the brininess and salt that crunchy dill pickle chips provide, it's hard to go back. Yet that's not to say that dill pickles are the only kind of pickle that will work. Just as there is a galaxy of pickles to choose from, so too are there ways to plus up a tuna melt with them.
Take, for instance, the other titans of the pickle world, sweet and spiced bread & butter pickles. They're divisive, to be sure, but they bring the acid that you're looking for, along with a pleasant sweetness and warmth that isn't unwelcome. Similar to the British pairing of sweet pickle relish with cheddar cheese, bread & butter pickles highlight the pronounced cheesiness of a tuna melt.
A curveball that's in a somewhat similar vein is pickled ginger, which is hard to come by in a diner, so this might have to be for at-home tuna melts. All the same, the bite and mellow tang of pickled ginger takes a tuna melt in unexpected directions. You could even bolster its Asian tone with a bit of chopped scallion or a garlic rub on the griddled bread.
It doesn't matter what kind of pickles you choose, from stalwart dill chips to tart Indian lime pickles. The snappy flavor incumbent to them all will take your tuna melt from delicious to divine.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.