Shedding their past as a lunchbox staple, tuna-salad sandwiches are nattily dressed for success in these tasteful renditions.
This article first appeared in the 1 April 2008 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).
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By Kate Leahy, Senior Associate Editor
Albacore & Avocado (pictured above)
Mimi's Cafe, multiple locations. The Tustin, Calif.-based chain first added sliced avocado to tuna salad 20 years ago. Today, the Albacore & Avocado ranks third in popularity among Mimi's 13 signature sandwiches. To build the sandwich, lettuce, tomato, avocado and Cheddar cheese are placed atop a traditional tuna-salad mixture on sourdough bread.
Olive-Oil-Poached Tuna Salad Melt
Hot Chocolate, Chicago. Chef-owner Mindy Segal gently poaches tuna loin in olive oil with garlic and thyme until it is cooked through. Once cooled, the tuna is flaked, mixed with mayonnaise and capers, placed on toasted garlic ciabatta and topped with shredded Havarti cheese. For the finish, the sandwich goes under a broiler until the cheese begins to melt.
Tarragon Tuna Club Wrap
Sodexo, multiple locations. Tarragon and bacon give tuna salad a fresh disposition at the Gaithersburg, Md.-based contractor's corporate-dining accounts. Red onions and roasted red bell peppers also add original, unexpected flavor. The mixture is wrapped in a spinach tortilla with bacon strips, lettuce and tomato.
Au Bon Pain, multiple locations. Executive Chef Thomas John incorporates diced carrots, dill and parsley for sweetness in the yellowfin-tuna-and-mayonnaise salad that is served on a farmhouse roll at units of the Boston-based chain. Asparagus and tomato top the tuna; Swiss cheese is melted over the filling to finish the sandwich.