03.16.09: dinner (subtitle: needing an easy-yet-light solution after spending most of the day in travel).

Grilled Tuna, Swiss and Arugula Panini

Grilled Tuna, Swiss and Arugula Panini

Sandwiches can be either as light or as heavy as you wish them; the cubanos we had the week prior to this would easily veer on the heavy end of the spectrum, while this is arguably a lighter alternative that does what I feel a good sandwich should: provide a compact way to get something from most of the major food groups. The original incarnation of this sandwich came from an episode of Everyday Italian and included Provolone and frisee, which was a good combination, but given that frisee isn’t really part of our normal greens consumption and isn’t terribly nutrient-rich, arugula (or spring mix or baby spinach, depending on what looked good that week) works as an able substitute.

After a weekend spent visiting the family and a morning on the road, neither Michael nor I felt much like making a big meal, and this is a great option to keep in the pantry for those days. We did have to go out and get rolls and cheese, of course, but you could also use your favorite sandwich bread and your favorite cheese in the fridge if that’s not a viable option for you.

Grilled Tuna, Swiss and Arugula Panino

Serves 2

  • 2 5-oz tins of chunk light tuna in olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Zahtar spice blend
  • Juice of one half lemon, plus zest
  • 1/2 cup arugula leaves, divided
  • 1/4 pound Swiss or provolone cheese, divided
  • Two panini rolls or 4 slices of crusty bread of your choice

Drain tuna of oil, but reserve, and add to a large bowl. Add mayonnaise, zahtar spice, and lemon juice and zest; stir to combine. Divide mixture between the two sandwiches, and add the cheese and arugula. Brush the tops of the rolls with the reserved oil, and then place on a grill or panini press and cook until cheese is melted. Slice sandwiches in half and serve.


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