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Recipe: Mediterranean Tuna Tapenade Sandwiches

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Recipe: Mediterranean Tuna Tapenade Sandwiches
Dave Scantland
Confession time: I originally came up with this sandwich idea when my neighborhood deli featured tastes of a locally produced "olive salad." I tried it on my way home from work, when I was ravenous, and bought a container along with a small baguette. Once home, I mixed in a can of tuna, scooped it onto a piece of baguette, and my new favorite sandwich (for at least six months) was born. Then the deli stopped carrying the olive salad, so I had to come up with a recipe from scratch. If you shop at a market with a salad or olive bar that carries a good tapenade or olive salad, you can use that instead of making your own. It's faster and almost as good.

Note: If your sandwich roll is soft, skip the directions for wrapping and weighting the sandwich. It will become too soggy.

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained
  • 1/3 cup green olives with pimento (whole or sliced), drained
  • 1/2 cup very coarsely chopped roasted red peppers*
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about half a small lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1 can light Italian tuna packed in olive oil (do not drain)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (optional, depending on tuna)
  • 2 crusty hoagie-style sandwich rolls or 6-inch lengths of baguette
  • Tomato slices (optional)
  • Shredded lettuce (optional)

Preparation:

1. Place the olives, red peppers and garlic in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse a few times to chop the olives roughly and mix the ingredients. (Or chop by hand.)

2. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine and adjust seasoning if necessary. (I usually find that the ingredients are salty enough that additional salt is not needed. Add more red pepper flakes if you want it spicier; I use a scant 1/4 teaspoon, which makes it pretty spicy. Add oil if the mixture is too dry.)

3. Split the sandwich rolls. Scoop out a little of the soft bread from the inside of the rolls to make a shallow trough. Divide the tuna mixture between the two rolls, scooping it into the troughs. Top with tomato slices and lettuce if using. Optional but recommended for dense or chewy bread: wrap the sandwiches tightly in plastic wrap and weight down with a plate for 20 minutes to an hour before eating.

* Use roasted red peppers from a jar, or roast your own (see this tutorial for instructions)

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