Hold-the-Mayo Tuna Melts with Fennel and Onion

Add a little sophistication to the tuna melt and subtract the mayo with this traditional Italian tuna salad mix.


  • 1 large clove garlic, minced or grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 large red onion, 1/4 finely chopped and the rest thinly sliced
  • 1 bulb fennel, quartered and thinly sliced, reserving a small handful of finely chopped fronds
  • 3 cans line-caught tuna, drained and flaked (6 ounces each)
  • 3 tablespoons capers, chopped
  • A small handful of oil-cured black olives or kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 hand-cut slices good-quality whole grain bread
  • About 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian Fontina Val d’Adosta or provolone cheese


Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Place the garlic and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk in 3 tablespoons EVOO; season with lots of pepper.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO, one turn of the pan, in a medium size skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and fennel bulb and cook to crisp-tender, 6-7 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Add the tuna to the garlic-lemon dressing. Combine with the finely chopped onion, capers, olives, parsley and fennel fronds; toss to combine. Divide the tuna among the bread slices and top with the sautéed fennel and onions, then the Fontina or provolone. Pop them into the oven and bake until the bread is crisp, the tuna is warm and the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

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