A healthy grilled cheese sandwich? Yes, it is possible!
The classic Italian flavors of this grilled sandwich are very nice. Tuna, olive oil, artichoke and kalamata olives make this sandwich taste special. I used to cook this carciofi sandwich in a cafe that won the Gold Spoon Award for 29 years in a row. We were very famous for trendy food and fine desserts. The cafe was the place to go for a light meal, coffee and dessert.
The sister restaurant was on the first floor of the building. The fine dining Provence style restaurant was the finest restaurant in Florida for a very long time. I was ambitious in those days. I worked cooking the haute cuisine Provence lunch downstairs in the daytime and I also cooked during the dinner shift upstairs at the cafe everyday. It was a 14 hour long work day each day, but the pay was rewarding.
The two restaurants had two totally different menus. The great chefs of the world dined at our restaurants, looking for inspiration. Our clientele was the rich and famous mixed with regular folks who liked fine food. That business was a great place for a chef to "let it all hang out!". We served very creative trendy food.
Carciofi refers to artichoke in Italian language. There is a classic Italian veal carciofi recipe that is made with Italian brown sauce, white wine, garlic and artichokes. Olives are an optional ingredient in that recipe. There is also a couple of Italian carciofi pasta recipes. One is an olive oil sauce of garlic, black olives artichoke and locally caught Italian tuna. The other carciofi pasta has no tuna in the recipe and it is a tomato sauce instead of an olive oil sauce.
Tuna carciofi can be served warm in a pasta and it can be served chilled as a salad. Tuna carciofi really tastes nice on a sandwich. The carciofi flavors really come alive in warm sandwich recipe!
Grilled Tuna Carciofi Sandwich Recipe:
Instead of canned tuna, a piece of fresh tuna that is brushed with olive oil then baked is a nice choice. Simply crumble and flake the baked tuna after it cools.
Not all canned tuna is created equal. Some are better than others. At most Italian restaurants that I cooked in, a light color tuna like albacore was used. Imported canned Italian tuna is almost always packed in olive oil and it is always a pale color. Canned albacore tuna is good choice too.
Drain the water from a can of quality tuna.
Place 3 1/2 to 4 ounces of the tuna in a mixing bowl.
Add 8 pitted kalamata olives.
Add 5 sliced artichoke hearts.
Add just enough virgin olive oil to coat the ingredients.
Add 1 pinch of oregano.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Toss the ingredients together and set them aside.
Brush two slices of bread with olive oil. (French bread, Italian bread, sour dough or rye bread is best for this sandwich.)
Place a few thin slices of mozzarella cheese on the bread.
Grill the bread on a seasoned skillet or griddle over medium/medium low heat.
Place a portion of the carciofi tuna mixture on one of the bread slices while it is grilling.
When the sandwich is grilled golden brown and the cheese has melted, place the two sandwich halves together.
Slice the sandwich in half on a cutting board.
Set the sandwich halves on a plate.
Garnish with Italian parsley sprigs.
Ditali Pasta Salad Recipe:
Cook 1 cup of Ditali pasta in boiling water, till it becomes al dente.
Cool the pasta under cold running water.
Use a strainer to completely drain the water off of the pasta.
Place the pasta into a mixing bowl.
Add 1/4 cup each of these finely diced vegetables:
Add 1 thin sliced green onion.
Add 1 pinch of basil.
Add 1 pinch of paprika.
Add 1 pinch of minced garlic.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add enough mayonnaise to lightly coat the ingredients. (Don't use too much mayonnaise in this salad or it will become runny, instead of being able to hold its shape!)
Mix the ingredients together and chill the ditali pasta salad in a refrigerator.
Use a ring mold to place the pasta salad on the plate.
The bold flavor of kalamata olives is welcome in this tuna carciofi sandwich. The flavor of this sandwich is indescribably good tasting! The ditali pasta salad is a nice accompaniment with this grilled sandwich. This is a very nice alternative to a standard tuna melt sandwich. Yum! ... Shawna