Saturday, April 25, 2015

Week 15 - Surf and Turf

I was not excited for surf and turf week. Usually when I think surf and turf I think about steak and seafood, which wasn't going to happen (I don't eat steak). I figured I could do some sort of grilled chicken and shrimp, but was not inspired at all by that idea. The themes for the challenge are generally pretty liberal, and they basically said you could just match up one thing from the land and one thing from the sea, so I decided a tuna melt with bacon would work. Tuna and bacon, surf and turf. Sounded like a good plan.

I didn't really follow a recipe for the tuna melt. My original thought was pretzel bagel + cheddar cheese + tuna salad + bacon + tomato + avocado or arugula, but the avocado wasn't ripe in time and I didn't really think arugula would fit that well, so I ended up doing pretzel bagel + cheddar cheese + tuna salad + bacon + tomato + caramelized onions. Just like the challenge before, why waste all that bacon fat and not caramelize an onion in it?

The ingredients for the tuna bacon melts (not all of which are in the photo since the tuna salad evolved as I kept tasting it) were:

- 2 pretzel bagels ($0.83)
- 4 slices of cheddar cheese ($1.60)
- 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced ($0.79)
- 4 slices of bacon ($2.50)
- 1 yellow onion, sliced ($0.60)
- 2 cans of tuna ($2.17)
- 3 large spoonfuls of mayonnaise ($0.40)
- 3 scallions, chopped ($0.40)
- garlic powder ($0.05)
- dill ($0.03)
- thyme ($0.05)
- black pepper ($0.05)
- dijon mustard ($0.10)
- lemon juice ($0.10)

The total came out just over $9.50 for 2 sandwiches. You might be able to get 2 tuna melts out there for that price, but not with as much stuff as I packed into them. That was a pretty good price for dinner for 2, and we were really full.

The steps for making the tuna bacon melts were:

1. Fry bacon slices. When they're done, remove to paper towel-lined plate.

2. In the same pan that you fried the bacon (with all the bacon fat), add a sliced onion and saute until caramelized. Then place the onions on a paper towel.

3. While the bacon and onions cook, slice the tomato and mix up the tuna salad to taste. To the tuna, I added mayo, scallions, garlic powder, dill, thyme, black pepper, dijon mustard, and lemon juice. 

4. Assemble the sandwiches. After I finished layering up the cheese, tomatoes, onions, and tuna salad, the towers were hilariously tall. I ended up cutting the tomatoes down a bit, but they still look like they are stacked really high.

5. Bake for a few minutes so the cheese melts and everything blends together a bit. I don't recall exactly what I did, probably 400 degrees, for maybe 5 minutes. Not very long. 

We really liked these tuna and bacon melts but they were very heavy. (Good thing I didn't make any side dishes!) The tuna salad turned out well and was a good match for the melted cheddar and bacon. It probably didn't need the caramelized onions, but as I said, I didn't want to waste that bacon fat, and they tasted good anyway. Overall, we were pretty happy with the melts and would definitely do these again sometime.

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