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The Algerian Tuna Melt Panini

You'll need both hands to eat this overstuffed Algerian inspired tuna sandwich, lavished with fiery condiments, a North African take on a the American classic.

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Tuna melts are one of my all time favorite quick and easy comfort foods. It's like a grilled cheese, there is something about melted cheese and warmed bread that makes me feel all nice and fuzzy inside. Tuna melts are a great go-to meal when you're in a hurry, have few ingredients in the house or in this case want to re-use leftovers.  I always have bread, canned tuna, bread, and cheese in my kitchen. Today's recipe is my healthier version with a Algerian twist.  The combination of tuna, h'miss, harissa, cheese and lemon juice offers a complex and flavorful tableau that innovates the traditional tuna melt.  I've made this sandwich open faced  many times and it's absolutely delicious. To make it for lunch. Make it for dinner. Take it on a picnic.

Tuna salad is one of the great sandwich standbys, but the usual mayonnaise-laced version is quite unhealthy. My version is mixed in with a ton of delicious veggies that'll delight your taste buds. A few more unexpected additions to this sandwich — I substituted plain Greek yogurt and olive oil for the mayonnaise, lightening up the recipe on fat, cholesterol, and sodium. There is no added salt, as there's plenty of salt from the canned tuna (salt is always included unless you buy a no sodium brand). For something slightly more sophisticated and Algerianized sandwich, I've used Algerian Khoubz el Dar bread that gives a hearty Algerian element. You could go even more healthier by using a Khobz chaïr (an Algerian barley bread) whole grain rye bread or your favorite gluten-free or grain-free bread. And optionally make this an open-faced sandwich for even less calories and carbs!

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One year ago: Khoubz Zeitoun
Two years ago: Agua Fresca
the algerian tuna melt panini }


ALGERIAN twist on this classic sandwich

YIELD: serves 6

stove,  MIXING BOWL, spoon, tongs, frying/grill pan or panini grill


  • 1 5oz -160g can of tuna packed in water, drained
  • 2/3 cup - 170g plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ small red onion, chopped fine
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2  tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 - 5 cubanelle peppers
  • ¼ tsp harissa, or to taste
  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
  • salt (optional, if you think you need it. I usually leave it out)

  • 1 Algerian Khoubz el Dar or Matlouh loaf, sliced into 6 portions
  • 150-200g your favorite cheese (I like mozzarella or Edam cheese) 
  • light olive oil, for brushing

    HEAT your grill to a high fire. Wash your peppers then roasted until blackened, turning often to obtain an even color. Once blackened, place in a plastic bag. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, lightly wash the peppers under the tap. This will help the skin come off easily and remove most of the chargrilled bits most people don't like; Remove the seeds from the peppers and slice into strips.

    IN a mixing bowl, combine the peppers, olive oil, Greek yogurt, red onion, black pepper, lemon juice, harissa, and mustard. Mix well.

    CUT the Matlouh bread into 6 portions then slice in half. Place a generous spoonful of the filling on each. Top with a sliced tomato and some of the cheese. Place the the other side of the bread on top.

    HEAT the panini press or optionally a frying pan/cast iron skillet on the stove. Lightly brush the sandwiches with light olive oil and press for few minutes. If using a skillet, flip over and brown on the other side.

    Remove from the panini press and serve warm.

    The filling for the sandwich can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    Make Ahead
    The filling for the sandwich can be easily made ahead, chilled and stored in a container. Later made up into sandwiches then grilled or optionally eaten just as a sandwich.

    You can easily use other type of bread in this recipe like Eziekel, rye or even your favorite gluten-free bread.

    Gluten Free
    You can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free bread or using another vehicle for the tuna salad to sit on, like a hallowed out green bell pepper or tomato.

     CATEGORIES:  algerian inspired, quick and easy, fish and seafood, sandwiches, picnic


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      This sandwich goes with a cold glass of homemade Oragania, a plate of H'miss on the bread, possibly some crudité and of course some Algerian olives to munch on.  


        how do you like to algerian-ize your favorite dishes? 

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        1. Salem aleykoum
          First of all, I'm really happy to read you again, I hope you are doing well you and your family, I wish you a hppy come back to school, your sandwich is the kind I looooooooooove so much! thanks a lot for sharing!
          Have a nice day!

        2. As-Salaamu Alaykum Heni,
          I would never have thought to Algerianise that classic tuna cheese melt it looks so good! Allahumma Baarik

        3. Salaamu aleikoum
          Oum Rukia and Asmaa, Thank you both for commenting. And saha for the warm welcome back. Sometimes it's nice to innovate and make up your own version of fav recipes :D


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