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Camp Chef: The Tuna Melt

Chef Dani makes tuna melts on Rainier

Welcome to our new, recurring series- Camp Chef! In this series of posts, we will discuss cooking in the backcountry and highlight some of our favorite recipes to use in a variety of situations. We will focus on simple, easy, and nutritious recipes that have proven delicious in the mountain environment, and offer related tips & tricks for staying happily fed in the backcountry.

Cooking & eating on a longer mountaineering trip can quickly become dreary. The ease of use of performance foods & dehydrated meals can give way to gut-rot & a loss of appetite. One of the best ways to reduce the monotony of food in the backcountry is to incorporate some fresh-cooked recipes into your itinerary. While these meals are more complicated to cook and heavier, they offer a nice break from bland, processed alternatives.

The Tuna Melt

A classic protein-powerhouse, tuna melts are easy to make with simple ingredients that stay preserved while in the field. We also like this meal because it’s easy to customize for those with dietary restrictions- and increasingly common & important reality even when backcountry cooking.

The recipe can easily be modified based on number of climbers and food preference, but the basics are:

  • 4 Slices of Bread (a sourdough boule holds up well, but pre-sliced bread is much simpler!)
  • One 2.6 oz No-Drain Tuna Packet (packets are lighter & simpler than cans!)
  • 3-4 oz Cheese, Sliced
  • 1 Tbs Butter
  • Hot Sauce

Using a frying pan on a compatible stove, first melt some butter. Place one slice of bread into the pan. Top it with tuna & slices of cheese, and then place a second piece of bread on top. Brown each side, turning carefully with a spatula until the cheese is melted and each side is browned. Add more butter for a second sandwich! Pro tip: the lower the temperature of your stove, the better the chances are you’ll get the cheese melted before burning the bread!

Check out Dani’s video instructions to see more.

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