Building a better tuna-salad sandwich
Butcher & Bee’s tuna-salad sandwich bears little resemblance to the brown-bag staple of our youth. At the craft-driven Charleston, South Carolina, sandwich shop, chef Stuart Tracy reimagines the childhood classic using high-quality ingredients and tuna steak poached in olive oil. He matches the wonderfully moist fish with a zesty herbed mayo to truly set his tuna salad apart. Serve the sandwich as part of a traditional American meal with a bottle of chilled beer, wedges of juicy melon and a simple green salad on the side.
Recipe adapted from Stuart Tracy, Butcher & Bee, Charleston, South Carolina
¾ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
½ shallot, finely chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
(about 1 tablespoon zest
and 3 tablespoons juice)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound yellowfin tuna steak
½ shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 sprigs of herbs such as thyme and rosemary
Extra-virgin olive oil (for poaching)
8 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted
8 large leaves Bibb lettuce
1. Make the mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice, tarragon and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, then refrigerate until ready to use.
2. In a large saucepan, combine the tuna with the shallot, garlic, bay leaf, black peppercorns and herb sprigs. Add just enough olive oil to cover the tuna. Poach the tuna over medium-low heat, turning once, until barely pink in the center, about 7 minutes.
3. Transfer the tuna to a large bowl and, using two forks, break it into large flakes. Cool slightly, then refrigerate until completely cool. Discard the oil.
4. Toss the cooled tuna with the mayonnaise until combined. Divide the tuna salad evenly among four slices of bread. Top each with two lettuce leaves, pickles (if using) and a second slice of bread. Serve immediately.
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Stop by Butcher & Bee next time you’re in Charleston.