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Four Stars: Testing the Waters – US Food Trends

25 April 2008

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).

R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. To find out more about R&I,visit its website here >>

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

Olive-Oil-Poached Tuna Salad Melt
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

Tarragon Tuna Club Wrap
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.

Tuna Melt

Tuna Melt
Tuna Melt

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.

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