My Favorite Tuna Fish Sandwich

... means more time for this.
A quick lunch...
Sometimes simple is good.  Out in the country at the cabin, things are simpler.  Especially when the nights still have a chance of freezing over, we don't pour water down the drain, and we don't pump water in from the lake (at present, the lake is still under ice, and last weekend we were dunking post-sauna in the hole cut for that specific purpose).  Because a lack of running water makes doing dishes difficult, we tend to keep the food as simple as possible, and make the more complicated (read: more dirty dishes) types of foods at home before we go. This time I'd made Rosemary Macaroni & Cheese which made a great side dish but not a a great main course (next time I'll add peas) - I mixed it up & put it in a casserole dish, and baked it in the oven at the cabin.  We had lemon & garlic marinade for our chicken fingers:  the chicken sat in the marinade for 4 hours or so while we basked in the sun, enjoyed the sauna & our dips in the lake, and then we grilled them over the open fire in the grill house to enjoy.

grilling the Lemon Garlic Chicken

But sometimes, the perfect cabin meal isn't cooked at all.  It's put together with a few simple but delicious ingredients, whose combination raises them from the ordinary to the extraordinary.  Such is the case with this Tuna Fish sandwich.

I have actually been making a version of this sandwich for years now; the pickled red onion is a new addition.  It came about because I was planning on making a tuna fish sandwich back during my Seattle days, and out of the corner of my eye, spied the basil plant as I was pulling the tuna fish out of the cupboard.  As it happens sometimes with food, the avocado was sitting next to the yogurt tub in the refrigerator, and so this sandwich was born.

The view while lying on my back in the sun.
In Seattle, I used to eat this on the Winter Wheat bread made by Orowheat.  They don't sell it everywhere of course, so if you don't have it where you are, any good multigrain bread, or  - really any good bread will work - wherever you are in the world.  In Finland, I usually use the ruispalat - the rectangular shaped rye rolls that come pre-split so you don't even have to slice them.  I like the bread slightly toasted for this, but I've had it untested last weekend on Sysmä rye bread and it was still excellent.

The ice will be gone next time....
This is not tuna.
I served these up for a late lunch at the cabin last weekend, and MP proclaimed "this is now on the list of something you need to eat before you die!"  I am sure it was the pickled red onion that did it - but even without the red onion, it's a doggone good sandwich.  I've somehow misplaced the recipe I used to make the pickled red onions, so I've included a link to the ones Molly from Orangette made based on the Zuni Cafe Cookbook back in 2004.  They look great.  I haven't tried Molly's version - the ones I made were a simple project with a few I need to experiment and see if I can recreate them since I've lost the recipe.  You may be able to find them on the shelves at your local grocery store. can go without...this time - until I can drum up the recipe and put it here for you.  Either way, the sandwiches will be great!

Best seat in the house!
Here's what's in it:  Good bread topped with:  tuna fish (mixed with plain yogurt), slices of sharp cheddar cheese, slices of perfectly ripe avocado, pickled red onion, basil.  If you like your sandwiches open-faced, stop here.  If you prefer them to have a lid, add another slice of bread.  I like them open-faced if possible because they are so pretty to look at, but if you are packing them off to somewhere, the second bread slice makes travel a lot easier.

Tuna Fish Sandwich pumped up

4 slices of very good bread (or 8 if you want a closed sandwich)
2 cans of tuna
1/4 - 1/2 cup of plain yogurt - depending on how moist you like your tuna sandwiches.  (use mayonnaise if you prefer)
4 slices of sharp cheddar cheese (more if the slices are small)
1 perfectly ripe Haas avocado, sliced
pickled red onions 
fresh basil leaves

1.  Toast the bread.
2.  Drain the tuna fish and mix with the yogurt (or mayonnaise if you prefer).  Divide the tuna fish between four slices of bread and spread it across evenly.
3.  Top the tuna with the remaining ingredients, in whatever order you want, ending with the basil leaves (or bread, your choice).
4.  Enjoy.

Serves 4.

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