If you read my last post you know there is not much cooking in this house these days due to the remodel of the kitchen and its contents packed in boxes. This creates the dilemma of what to eat? Although friends have graciously come forth with dinner invitations and there are plenty of restaurants, you can’t eat out all day everyday. With that in mind, it was time to create a new sandwich. The process began in my pantry and refrigerator to see what was on hand and would go together. Since I love good quality tuna, that was the start. With the protein decided, I added several vegetables, a little olive oil to give it moisture and some pesto, for added depth of flavor, as a spread for the bread. Topped with spinach, a perfectly soft cooked egg and some shavings of Parmesan cheese, it had all the necessary components. Pile all of that in a ciabatta roll and there it is, a big fat sandwich that made a complete meal. This is how it went down, more or less.
ITALIAN TUNA SANDWICH Makes 4
Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis
¼ c oil packed sun-dried tomato, roughly chopped
3T capers, roughly chopped
3T good quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 can (4oz.) tuna, drained
Freshly ground black pepper
4 sliced ciabatta rolls, toasted
½c basil pesto
2 soft cooked eggs, peeled and sliced (I cook them about 7 minutes)***
Baby spinach, enough for 4 sandwiches
8 pieces Parmesan cheese, shaved from a block using a vegetable peeler
- Mix together the tomatoes, capers, olive oil and tuna. Toss with a fork until fully incorporated and tuna is less chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble the sandwich by spreading both sides of the rolls with pesto. Divide the tuna mixture among the rolls. Top each with slices of egg, spinach and pieces of shaved parmesan.
Note: The sandwich improves greatly if you use a high quality olive oil and tuna. I used wild caught albacore tuna packed in spring water but olive oil packed would be great as well. For the cheese, I used Parmigiano-Reggiano, the undisputed “king” of cheeses.
If you are curious about the egg, here is how I do it. Place eggs in pan and cover with cold water, about one inch above the eggs. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from the heat. Cover, and let sit off heat for 6-7 minutes. Drain and place in cold water or ice bath. Keeping the yolk somewhat soft enhances the flavor and mouth feel. Cooking it longer dries out the yolk making it rubbery and hard to swallow, in my opinion, but you should make it the way it pleases you. If you like your egg yolks firmer, leave them for about 10 minutes. Using this method you will avoid that disgusting greenish ring that can form at the edges. I promise.
Now for an update on the kitchen remodel. The cabinets now are completely installed with the exception of the bookcase that will be home for my cookbook collection, at least the ones most frequently used. The refrigerator remains in the living room but I anticipate the new appliance delivery on Wednesday when it will be handed over to a new family. I still have an operating stove but the electricians are coming in the morning and I assume they will disconnect and move it out. Friday the guys are coming to refinish the butcher block that remains on the center island and above the cabinets along the wall. If all goes as planned, we will have the installation of the sink, its countertop and the backsplash tile remaining by the end of next week. Making progress but still living with dust covering everything. I see more sandwiches in my near future.
That said, I want to take a moment to honor all the Dads on this Fathers Day. Of course that includes my own, Frederick (Ted) Raffetto. He lived a long life of 86 years, loved telling stories and was especially proud of serving as a captain in the U.S. Army during World War II. During my younger years he and his brother owned a restaurant that had been previously operated by my grandfather, evolving from an ice cream parlor built by my great-grandfather. My Dad loved good food and was an adventurous eater, a trait he passed to me and I will be forever grateful. A kind and gentle man, he rarely raised his voice except when we misbehaved at the dinner table where he and my mother demanded good manners. He often said it was his goal to get through dinner without one of us spilling our milk. With seven children, that was a lofty goal. In spite of that he loved his family and encouraged independence in all of us. This has served me more than I could have ever imagined. Thank you, Dad. I salute all of the fathers today and my own, everyday.
If you are a dad, I hope you are being honored and someone is spreading the love by making a special dish just for you. Until next time, I send my love to all of you from the dust bowl. Jeanne