Takeoff on Reuben sandwich makes tasty meal

Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Tuna Reubens

I am a big fan of sandwich suppers, and this week I'm sharing an unusual take on the Reuben sandwich that I picked up on a trip to the beach.


In Florida, where we vacation every summer, many restaurants serve a grouper Reuben -- basically fried grouper with coleslaw, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing on toasted or grilled rye bread.

One of the best grouper Reubens can be found at a little waterside spot where we met friends for lunch several years ago: The BoonDocks in Daytona Shores, Fla. The restaurant also serves a delicious tuna melt (grilled marinated tuna, sauteed onions and melted cheese on toasted bread).

The day we were there they had a chalkboard special that combined the two into the Tuna Reuben.

It, as they say, was love at first bite.

I came home and re-created the recipe, which makes a good quick weeknight supper. I made the version mine by tossing together an extremely simple coleslaw. Instead of using traditional slaw dressing, I toss shredded cabbage with Thousand Island dressing.

Instead of grilling these sandwiches in a pan on the stove, I like to heat up a baking sheet in a very hot oven. I butter one side of the bread and then layer some cheese on the unbuttered side. Then I slide these onto the hot baking sheet, buttered side down, and bake for four minutes.

While the bread crisps in the oven, I sear fresh tuna steaks on top of the stove. The tuna and the slaw are layered on the prepared bread -- and the sandwiches are ready to enjoy.

You can double or triple the recipe when you'd like to serve more than two sandwiches. I like to serve the Reubens with sides of baby carrots and potato chips.


2 cups shredded cabbage for coleslaw*

3/4 cup prepared Thousand Island dressing, divided

4 slices rye bread

4 thin slices provolone or Swiss cheese

Melted butter, about 1 tablespoon

1 10-ounce tuna steak (about 1-inch thick) sliced in half horizontally into 2 thin steaks or 21/2- to 23/4-inch tuna steaks

Salt and pepper

Olive oil, about 2 teaspoons

4 thin slices provolone or Swiss cheese

Place a large baking sheet into the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the coleslaw and Thousand Island dressing in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be made one day ahead.)

Brush one side of each slice of bread with melted butter. Place on a plate, butter side down, and top each piece of bread with a slice of cheese.

Repeat with remaining slices of bread.

When oven is heated, carefully place the prepared bread, buttered side down, onto the heated baking sheet and bake for 4 minutes. (If the bread is done toasting before the tuna is done, remove it from the oven and set aside.)

Season both sides of the tuna steaks with salt and pepper, and brush with the olive oil. While you prepare the tuna steaks, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tuna steaks to the hot skillet and cook for 2 minutes per side.

Place one tuna steak on top of one of the pieces of bread, top it with half of the slaw and then top with another piece of the bread, cheese side down.

Makes 2 servings.

*Shredded cabbage for coleslaw can be found in cellophane bags in the produce section of most supermarkets. Two cups of thinly sliced green cabbage can be substituted.

What's cooking?

We're looking for your best kitchen creation, whether it's a simple chili or an elaborate continental concoction. Our food writer, Karin Calloway, will re-create your dish, and we'll feature it on the Wednesday Food page of The Chronicle. Send your recipe and contact information to karin.calloway@comcast.net, or write to Recipe Favorites, Newsroom, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928.


Since we began our solicitation for readers' restaurant recipe requests, Karin has received numerous e-mails. If you can help track down any of these recipes, please send her an e-mail at karin.calloway@comcast.net.

Here are the other requested recipes needing your help:

- Suzie Judd would like to know how to make the Crab Chop served at the French Market restaurants.

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- Gwen Enroughty would like the recipe for the sauce served with the grilled catfish and fried shrimp over seasoned rice at Cracker Barrel.

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