Kimchi Is The Crunchy, Tangy Addition Your Next Tuna Melt Needs

Homemade tuna melt
Homemade tuna melt - Bhofack2/Getty Images

This familiar diner classic is about to get a whole lot more interesting. To craft the ultimate tuna melt, it's all about the balance of flavor. Rich, savory tuna salad on thick, buttery bread would be well complemented by a sharp, bright topping. Enter, kimchi.

Kimchi is a traditional Korean food made of salted, fermented vegetables, most often a combination of napa cabbage, salt, garlic, ginger, scallions, fish sauce, and red chili flakes. The word "kimchi" actually comes from the Korean word "chimchae," meaning "vegetables soaked in brine." The resulting dish is a spicy, sour, pungent, tangy, umami-forward condiment that your tuna melt has been crying out for. The acidity of the kimchi meets the savory umami-ness of the tuna for a savory flavor bomb that feels oh-so-right. In fact, countless dishes already pair tuna with kimchi, like chachi-kimchi-jjigae, a kimchi stew with tuna, which is a traditional Korean comfort food.

To make it work for your tuna melt, use a pinch of kimchi as a topping at the end, no cooking or extra preparation steps necessary. Feel free to add other complementary, flavorful toppings like pickled red onions, pickled jalapeños, or charred fresh scallions. For added brightness and slight heat, you could slather your bread with sweet-spicy tomato jam before adding your tuna salad, then top it all off with a generous pinch of kimchi.

Read more: 15 Different Ways To Cook Fish

Add Texture And Complexity With One Easy Topping

Kimchi - 4kodiak/Getty Images

As an added bonus, the unassuming kimchi tuna melt is just as economical as it is healthy. Nutrition is often sacrificed for convenience for mealtimes in a pinch -- not so, says this flavorful tuna melt. Canned tuna is low in fat, high in protein, and loaded with DHA omega-3s that promote brain and eye health. Kimchi is the product of Lacto-fermentation, which means it's packed with anti-inflammatory qualities and gut-healthy probiotics that'll boost digestive system health, per Food Revolution Network. For a thrifty weeknight meal or a quick, filling lunch, simply grab a can of tuna, a thick slab of bread, a slice or two of American cheese, and a pinch of kimchi. Combined, all these ingredients will cost you roughly $3 per serving from a Walmart in New York.

Jars of pre-made kimchi can be found in many supermarkets and most pan-Asian specialty grocery stores in a variety of brands. You can whip up a batch of homemade kimchi, too. It only takes a few ingredients and boasts a Methuselah-esque shelf life. Plus, if you go this route, you can customize the flavor profile and spiciness level to your liking. Either way, kimchi's distinctive taste will lend instant complexity and dimensionality to your go-to tuna melt.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.