Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tuna Sandwich Salad

It all started when Pritchard Parker came home with an incredible wedge of cheese. Because it was Valentines Day, he jokingly said, "Here's your Valentine Cheese".  Later, when I told Alice about it, she stated that she thought a delicious wedge of cheese is a perfect gift for any occasion. I couldn't agree more and now you know what you can get for either of us when searching for gift ideas.

The cheese was an aged Gouda and one of the best cheeses I have ever tasted. As I thought about that cheese and how I would use it, I knew I wanted it to be the star of the show, not just a supporting actor. I thought of cheese souffle and cheese soup, but ultimately opted for cheese fondue. We swooned as we dipped cubes of homemade bread into the warm, melted cheese.

Alas, this is not a post about cheese fondue and homemade bread, didn't get a single photo, but rather the next day when I was staring at a half loaf of leftover homemade bread and a handful of shrimp.

I thought of making a panzanella salad, which is best in summer when the tomatoes are perfectly ripe and full of sunny flavor.  Because I was having the first stirrings of a craving for tuna, which often manifests as tuna salad, I decided to make tuna salad sandwiches, maybe even tuna melts. The concepts crashed together in my brain as I worked, and this is the result.

Tuna Sandwich Salad
Leftover sturdy bread, cubed
Extra virgin olive oil--be generous
Canned tuna to taste
Handful of boiled shrimp, optional
Juice of 1 lemon
8 oz. pepper jack cheese, cubed
Diced celery with leaves
Chopped pickles
Sliced pimiento stuffed olives
Minced red onion
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place leftover bread into a large bowl. Generously drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss together. Set aside while preparing the remaining ingredients. Combine all the ingredients and let rest at room temperature for about an hour.  Taste and adjust seasonings and serve over cleaned and torn lettuce or baby spinach leaves.

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