I always try to prepare different meals during the week so that I don't get bored. But, let's face it. It can be challenging. On those days when I just don't know what to make, I usually turn to sandwiches, or more specifically, tuna sandwiches. It's easy to throw together and always satisfying. Today, I decided to give the basic recipe an Asian uplift to create a yuzu tuna sandwich with chili crisp. This version seasons the seafood with homemade chili crisp, adds yuzu for zest, and pairs it with crusty ciabatta, arugula, avocado, tomatoes, and pickled cucumbers. A fun way to spice up your lunch!
Yuzu Tuna Sandwich with Chili Crisp
- 1 Persian cucumber sliced
- ¼ red onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup boiling water
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons red chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup oil
- 2 shallots thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 star anise
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
Yuzu tuna salad
- 10 ounces canned tuna drained
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 scallions chopped
- 3 tablespoons chili crisp
- 1 tablespoon yuzu
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- 2 ciabatta sandwich bread or any other type of sandwich bread
- ½ cup arugula
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1 tomato sliced
- Make pickled cucumbers. Combine boiling water with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add cucumber and red onion and let sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Prepare chili crisp. Combine chili flakes with ginger and sugar in a heat safe bowl and set aside.
- Combine oil with shallots, garlic, star anise, and peppercorns in a medium saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer until shallots are browned, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat. Place a strainer on top of the bowl with chili flakes and pour hot oil directly through strainer into the bowl. Discard peppercorns and star anise but reserve shallots and garlic. Let oil cool, then add back shallots and garlic.
- Combine canned tuna with mayonnaise, celery, cilantro, scallions, chili crisp, yuzu, and dijon mustard, mixing until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Assemble sandwiches. Toast ciabatta and top bottom bun with yuzu tuna salad, pickled cucumbers and onion, arugula, avocado, and tomato. Drizzle extra chili crisp if deserved and top with remaining bun. Serve.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
This yuzu tuna sandwich with chili crisp requires a bit more work than a regular sandwich, but we're not looking for ordinary today, right? Plus, you can prepare the chili crisp and pickled cucumbers the day before. That way, you can still make lunch in just a few minutes on the day of!
Let's start by making the pickled cucumbers. It's actually really easy to make pickled cucumbers. All you have to do is slice a Persian cucumber, combine it with thinly sliced red onion, and add the brining liquid. We're going to use hot water in the brining liquid to speed up the pickling process.
I like to use Persian cucumbers but you can also use Kirby, Japanese pickles, or even gherkins for smaller pickles.
Next, let's make the chili crisp. Combine chili flakes with ginger and sugar in a heat-safe bowl and set it aside. Korean chili flakes, also known as gochugaru, or Aleppo chili flakes work wonderfully in this recipe.
Pour the neutral oil (I like to use olive oil) into a medium saucepot along with the shallots, garlic, star anise, and peppercorns. Bring the oil to a simmer over medium heat and lower the heat. Continue to simmer the oil until the shallots and garlic are browned. Keep an eye on the aromatics. If the oil seems too hot, take it off the stove and let it sit for a couple of minutes to lower the temperature.
Carefully pour the hot oil through a strainer placed directly on top of the bowl with the chili flakes. Discard the peppercorns and star anise but keep the shallots and garlic, adding them back to the oil once cooled.
Now it's time to season the tuna. Combine the drained canned tuna with mayonnaise, chopped cilantro, scallions, celery, yuzu, chili crisp, and dijon mustard. Give everything a good mix and season the filling with salt and pepper.
I can never find fresh yuzu juice so I stuck with bottled instead. If you have trouble finding yuzu, you can substitute it with lemon juice. However, the flavors won't be exactly the same.
Now it's time to assemble the sandwiches. Toast the ciabatta or any other sandwich bread and pile on the tuna, pickled cucumbers and onion, arugula, avocado, and tomato. If you want a little extra chili, go ahead and drizzle more of that delicious chili crisp on top. Stack the top bun and lunch is served!
This yuzu tuna sandwich with chili crisp hit home for me. It had familiar flavors with the chili crisp and yuzu but was something new altogether. You can bet I'll be adding this to the regular menu rotation!
For more tuna salad inspiration check out this Mediterranean tuna salad with egg sandwich!