Since Julie came up with the idea to do Rolling Spoon, I’ve been wanting to write a post about Hot Tuna. Not because I’m a fan of the band — their name has always sounded vaguely offensive to me and I never actually heard their music until today — but because there’s just something so appetizing about the thought of warmed, hot even, tuna. I’ve always been a sucker for a good tuna melt and writing about a bluesy Jefferson Airplane offshoot seems as good an excuse as any to make a hot tuna melt on a autumn day.
First up, Hot Tuna. The band formed in the late ’60s as a side project to keep members of Jefferson Airplane occupied while Grace Slick was having surgery on her throat. The blues-rock band kept it going for about a decade (and, it should be noted, released an album called Burgers in 1972), broke up in 1979, and, like many bands of their generation, have since reunited. Original members Jack Cassidy and Jorma Kaukonen still perform as Hot Tuna today and released an album in 2011. Blues rock is not my thing, but here’s a little taste of Hot Tuna if you’re interested:
What is my thing, however, is a nice hot tuna melt. Last month I found myself in possession of a couple of really nice cans of tuna, being sold on behalf of Chefs for Oceans by Chef Ned Bell, who was then riding his bike across Canada to raise awareness for Oceanwise (I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of extra cans this weekend at the Food Bloggers Canada conference, held at Bell’s home turf, the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver, where he is the executive chef). Knowing that the tuna was begging to be covered in cheese, I set about making a killer tuna melt.
Now, I am not a lover of the mayo, so I like to do a mayo-free tuna melt, but if you need a little something to hold it together, feel free to add in a bit of mayo or some homemade aioli. I used Ned’s tuna, but any high quality tuna will do, especially if it’s deemed sustainable!
Hot Tuna Melt
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
juice of one lime
1 can wild pacific albacore tuna
1 tsp prepared horseradish
2 pieces of your favourite bread, toasted
2 large slices cheddar cheese
Heat the broiler in your oven up to medium-high. In a bowl, mix together the shallots, celery, lime juice, tuna, and horseradish. Spread the mustard on each slice of toast, pile on as much of the tuna mixture as you can and top with cheddar cheese. Broil until the cheese is bubbling. Eat immediately.