Featured Pantry Items: Tuna fish, olives, artichoke hearts. One of the reasons I love Italian food is because it is so pantry and garden friendly. Italian food thrives on fresh garden food or pantry staples. I am always in the market for a new tuna recipe. I have a lot of tuna storage and I get bored of the same old thing. When my sweet friend brought me a loaf of sun dried tomato Tuscan style bread I knew I had to try Giada de Laurentiis' Artichoke Tuna Panini from her cookbook Giada's Family Dinners. I changed it up a little bit because I don't usually store tuna packed in oil, which is what her recipe calls for. I also like my tuna sandwiches all melty. I have some fresh mozzarella that was begging to be used and I believe tuna and cheese are good partners, so I added some fresh mozzarella. You don't need to add cheese to this sandwich but a mild cheese makes it all the better. You can also use any hearty bread loaf or ciabatta of your choice. For me the sun dried tomato bread was the the ideal earthy, savory and hearty choice.
You will also see from the following photos, that I had to simplify half the recipe for the kids. Their tastebuds are not sophisticated enough to appreciate artichokes or an olive mayonnaise spread. They got tuna fish, mayo and cheese. Poor things. They don't understand what they are missing.Recipe
1 small container of chopped black olives
2 Tb olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp lemon juice or lemon zest ( I didn't have lemon zest and the lemon juice worked just fine)
1/4 Cup mayonnaise
2 (6 oz) cans of tuna, drained
1 (12 oz) jar or 1/2 Cup of marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf ciabatta or other country style bread ( I used a sun dried tomato)
1 tomato diced
7 to 10 slices fresh mozzarella or other mild cheese
Preheat oven to 500 degrees
In a food processor combine olives, oil, garlic and lemon juice or zest. Process until smooth. I left mine a little chunky. Blend in the mayo and set aside. In a medium bowl toss tuna, artichoke hearts, lemon juice and pepper. Leave tuna in small chunks.
Hollow out the bottom and top of bread loaf until each side resembles a boat. Spread olive mayo over both pieces of bread and fill bottom half of bread with tuna mixture. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and top with mozzarella slices.
Place top of bread on bottom and press down. Place on cookie sheet and bake until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and slice bread into 2 to 3" sandwiches.
Tip: Use the bread chunks removed from loaf for croutons. Place on a plate and loosely cover with parchment paper for a day or two. They make a great salad addition a day or two later. Also, if you love artichoke hearts as much as I do stock up or buy them in bulk. I have a gallon of them in my refrigerator at all times. Seriously, give me some tomatoes, artichoke hearts and fresh mozarella and I could survive for a long time.