Oh these photos were making me want another one of these today for lunch :)
The instigator for this fancy sandwich? Landana Asparagus Gouda from my favorite cheese shop, Murray's at Kroger. Fresh, green, spring flavor with that characteristic creamy texture but a bit saltier than some Goudas. Unfortunately, it is a seasonal cheese. So why am I posting this in fall? Because tuna and asparagus can be found all year long and this panini is too delicious to put off until next spring. There are so many wonderful melting Gouda cheeses, you could try a different one each month til spring arrives again :)
Much like a dressing makes the salad, a sauce makes the sandwich. Tarter with a couple of twists.
I am a lifetime subscriber to Julia Child's concept of, a little wine for the recipe and a lot more for the chef:) The White Knight Viognier has enough body to stand up to the rich cheese, mayo, and buttered toast.
It's musky note works well with asparagus, and a melon citrus fruity balance to cleanse the palate and compliment the sauce and tuna. Viognier in general is fantastic with asparagus, a food that can be challenging to match with wine. Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs when I cook asparagus, whether in an omelet, stir fry, or sandwich form.
See how light and airy this bread is....Nice and crisp!
Now for the tuna...I live in a coastal seafood town so it really annoys me to find seafood from all over the world in my local grocery stores, a situation that is primarily money driven. I want it fresh, not frozen whenever possible, or at least from the U.S.A. So I've started purchasing Sushi grade tuna because it's never frozen. It's also milder, less gamey and wild in flavor, with a more moist texture.
I also love the sharp taste of Yellow fin and will hungrily eat it if fresh caught. Personal preference, so choose whatever kind of tuna you enjoy. I used a sour dough bread that had a transparent airy sort of texture. Better than a real dense slice because it will get a fabulous crisp surface, a must with a panini.
Not the prettiest picture but the best part for the chef/photographer :)
Ingredients For Viognier Tarragon Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sweet relish
1 tablespoon White Knight viognier (or other dry white wine)
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 1/4 teaspoon fresh Meyer lemon juice
pinch of pepper
Ingredients For Panini
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound Sushi grade tuna, forked into large pieces
salt and pepper to taste
10 asparagus spears, blanched for 2 minutes, then placed into ice water to cool and retain bright green color
.25 lb. of Landana Asparagus Gouda (or other melting cheese if you can't find this one)
4 slices sour dough bread
About 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons butter (I melt half in the pan and brown one side, then while it's cooking spread the rest on the other side and flip)
Directions For Viognier Tarragon Sauce
Whisk all ingredients into a bowl. Set aside.
Directions For Panini
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook tuna approximately 3 to 5 minutes on each side, depending on thickness and how you like your tuna. Fork into large pieces.
While tuna is in the pan, blanche asparagus for 2 minutes. Then place into cold water. Drain before placing onto sandwich. Cut to fit the length of the bread. The ends make great snacks :)
When tuna is done, slice and divide cheese between all 4 pieces of bread. This becomes the glue that holds everything in place when it melts. Place tuna onto one side of bread. Set asparagus spears over tuna.
Heat skillet over medium low heat and melt half of the butter. Carefully close the sandwiches. Brown on one side until golden and crispy. Spread the rest of the butter on the other side, flip and brown until golden and the cheese has melted.
Remove sandwich from pan and cut in half. Spoon some sauce into a bowl and dip away. You get a nice dollop of deliciousness in every bite!
What kind of panini creations are you whipping up in your kitchen? Please share in the comments below!