16 Apr Jackfruit Tuna Melts
When working to brainstorm my first class to teach at my favorite market/cooking school/Southern staples emporium, Southern Seasons, there was no doubt in my mind that I NEEDED to bring the glorious wonders of Jackfruit to the South. In my time here so far, I have yet to see jackfruit on a single restaurant menu, despite the fact that it’s wildly available at the local Asian markets, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s and it just breaks my damn heart. Now, North Carolina, and the South in general, is not known for their love of Vegetarianism (I even think there may be as many pigs as there are people here), but this little progressive triangle section of the state I’m living in does have a disproportionate amount of open minded crunchy-granola folks, and I do hope that translates to openness in the world of plant-based food. That said, I know I’ll be playing to a traditionally meat-inclined crowd, but luckily that’s my specialty! I knew I already had an epic jackfruit recipe in my Jackfruit BBQ Pulled Pork that I’ve been making for years, a dish that has fooled several meat eaters in my life, but that I still needed two more cross-the-aisle recipes that would make Southern meat-eaters swoon. I have a huge cache of jackfruit recipes for curries and tacos and stews but I wanted to make this class menu relatively Southern, so I spent a couple weeks in the kitchen testing and tinkering until I came up with two, pretty damn delicious, and definitively comfort food-esque, recipes: The Jackfruit Tuna Melt and the Jackfruit Fried Chicken Nugget!
This recipe was a funny one for me. If I suddenly found myself in hell tomorrow, it would probably be filled with open cans of tuna while I was treading water in a seaweed filled smelly ocean. I hate fish. I’ve haven’t eaten it since I was really little, and the smell of any fish, no matter how fresh, turns me green. And tuna fish? The worst of them all. I have to leave the house when someone pops a can, and leave a restaurant when someone orders it. Don’t get me started on when someone brings a tuna salad sandwich on a plane. But for this class, I knew that to show the full range of jackfruit, a tuna melt had to be thrown in the mix. And I have to tell you, this recipe was such a success that I can’t eat it- it literally has the exact smell and flavor that a real tuna melt has. Everyone I’ve served it to has no idea it’s not tuna, and for those of you out there on the other side of the tuna loving spectrum as me, you will LOVE this more than words can describe. Just please don’t make me eat it ever again 🙂
Here in lies the tuna recipe, and you can find the chicken nugget recipe here!
Also! I tested all my recipes with a few different brands of canned jackfruit, two from my local Asian market, one from Trader Joe’s, and one from Whole Foods. I did not test with fresh jackfruit, as I can only get the ripe fruity jackfruit here instead of the young green jackfruit needed for savory recipes. Check out my guide and recommendations here!
- 2 cups of shredded jackfruit, seeds and cores removed
- 6 tablespoons Duke’s Mayonaise
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/4 cup finely diced celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped mini gerkins
- 1-2 tablespoons dried wakame
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 pinch salt
- 6 slices of your favorite sliced bread
- 1-2 vine ripened tomatoes
- 6 slices of Swiss or cheddar cheese, cut in half on the diagonal
- Rinse your jackfruit well, and wring until very dry in a kitchen towel. Remove and fluff.
- Mix remaining tuna ingredients in a medium bowl. The tuna gets fishier and fishier as it sits as the wakame hydrates and permeates the tuna with it's flavor, so if you will be serving within a couple hours, use 2 tablespoons of wakame, if you're making ahead, use 1 tablespoon. I recommend making it and serving it soon after for optimal flavor.
- Cut the edges off your bread, slice in half along the diagonal, and toast.
- Slice your tomatoes into rounds, and then cut in half.
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the tuna on each toast triangle. Top with a tomato half and then a triangle of cheese.
- Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is melted and you can see the tomato through it.
- Garnish with parsley and serve warm.