Every time I make this sandwich, I think of chef Josh Smith, one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met in the food business. As he served me a jaw-dropping dish he said, “If there’s a way to do it, overdo it.” This sandwich is made in that spirit. Sub in perfectly cooked fresh tuna for the canned version, melt some great cheese, get some fresh bread (instead of the stuff sitting on the shelf) and add all of the toppings you want. You don’t have to complicate it if you don’t want. You can just cook a tuna steak and mix it with mayo and some seasonings. Remember, though: Don’t just do it, overdo it!
– 1 (8-oz [230-g]) tuna steak.
– 1 bakery-fresh torpedo roll or another long sandwich roll.
– ¼ cup (56 ml) real mayo or Miracle Whip.
– 4 slices of sharp cheddar cheese (or your favorite).
– 2 tbsp (20 g) dry unseasoned bread crumbs.
– ¼ cup (38 g) chopped white onion (optional).
– 1 tsp (5 g) salt.
– 1 tsp (2 g) black pepper.
– 2 slices tomato.
– 2 romaine lettuce leaves, cut into shreds (optional).
– ¼ cup (43 g) chopped banana peppers (optional).
– 1 kosher dill pickle, quartered lengthwise (optional).
Step 2: Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat for about 45 seconds. Using electric? Give it 45 minutes—that’s a joke. Give it 1 or 2 minutes; an electric burner takes longer to heat a pan. When the oil is hot, put the tuna in the pan and brown on one side for 1 minute or so. Flip it— this is the easiest step of the whole recipe—throw a cover on the pan, and let the tuna cook all the way through, 5–8 minutes, depending on how hot your stove runs and how thick the tuna is. The tuna should be cooked through and tender enough to flake apart with a fork. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Step 3: With a serrated blade, cut the torpedo in half lengthwise, leaving a hinge. Don’t cut all the way through dude; you want a sub, not sloppy joe of the sea. Open up the roll and spread each side with 1 tablespoon (14 ml) of the mayo. Place 2 slices of cheese on each side and put the roll into the oven—on a baking sheet, please! Bake, checking every minute or so, until the cheese is gooey.
Step 4: In a large bowl, flake the tuna (mash it up) with a fork, and add the remaining 2 tablespoons (28 ml) of the mayo. Add the bread crumbs, and if you wish, the onion. Season with the salt and pepper. Using the same fork, mix the tuna until the ingredients are evenly distributed and all of the fish is broken up.
Step 5: Place the sliced tomato on the bottom half of the roll, and scatter the lettuce on top, if you wish. Mound the tuna on top of the veggies, and if you like, scatter the banana peppers over the tuna. Top with the pickle and grub!