Niçoise Tuna Panini (gluten-free)

Tuna salad gets a make-over with Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, Dijon and a splash of red wine vinegar in this recipe from French chef, Jean-Claude Poilevey. Try it on your favorite sandwich bread or with melted cheddar on grilled rustic bread. It also makes a great dip served with crackers. This is my family’s favorite panini filling, but finding a good gluten-free bread to make them with has been a challenge. Now that I’ve developed a gluten-free Rustic Artisan Bread that doesn’t crumble, panini and sandwiches are back on the menu. As someone who tasted the bread said recently, “It looks wheatie, smells wheatie and tastes wheatie.” This bread is good enough to serve anyone and I would eat it whether I was on a gluten-free diet or not. So bake up a loaf and serve it with this delicious filling.

Niçoise Tuna Panini (gluten-free)

4 to 5 servings, adapted from Jean-Claude Poilevey

2 cans (7 ounces or 198 grams) albacore tuna, drained
1/3 cup (80 ml) mayonnaise
2 tablespoons  (30 ml) olive oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) Dijon, or any mustard that’s tolerated
1 teaspoon (5 ml) red wine vinegar, or other vinegar as tolerated
8 Kalamata olives, finely diced
2 tablespoons (30 ml) diced, roasted red pepper
1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced parsley
1 loaf Gluten-free Rustic Artisan Bread, sliced 5/8 inch (1.6 cm) thick
Olive oil to brush on bread
4 to 5 slices sharp cheddar cheese, 1 slice per sandwich

Preheat the panini press. Put drained tuna into a large bowl and use your fingers to break it into fine pieces. Add the mayonnaise, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, olives, red pepper and parsley. Stir until completely mixed and there are no traces of dry tuna.

Use a pastry brush to lightly spread olive oil over one side of each bread slice. Spread the tuna mixture on the plain side, followed by a slice of cheese and a slice of bread. Make sure the side with olive oil is facing out. Arrange the sandwiches on the panini press and grill until the cheese melts and the outside is golden brown. If you don’t have a panini press, cook them in a hot skillet, preferably cast iron, with another pan on top. Use several heavy cans to weigh the skillet down. Cook the sandwiches till browned on one side, then flip them over with the weighted skillet on top. The sandwiches won’t have grill marks, but they’ll still be delicious.

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