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Tuna Asparagus Panini With Viognier Tarragon Sauce

Oh these photos were making me want another one of these today for lunch :)


Tuna Asparagus Panini With Viognier Tarragon Sauce 7


The instigator for this fancy sandwich? Landana Asparagus Gouda from my favorite cheese shop, Murray's at Kroger. Fresh, green, spring flavor with that characteristic creamy texture but a bit saltier than some Goudas. It's a seasonal cheese so go grab some and make this panini today!


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Much like a dressing makes the salad, a sauce makes the sandwich. Tarter with a couple of twists.


Tuna Asparagus Panini With Viognier Tarragon Sauce 6


I am a lifetime subscriber to Julia Child's concept of, a little wine for the recipe and a lot more for the chef:) The White Knight Viognier has enough body to stand up to the rich cheese, mayo, and buttered toast.


It's musky note works well with asparagus and has a melon citrus fruity balance to cleanse the palate and compliment the sauce and tuna. Viognier in general is fantastic with asparagus, a food that can be challenging to pair with wine. Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs when I cook this spring vegetable, whether in an omelet, stir fry, or sandwich form.


See how light and airy this bread is....Nice and crisp!


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Now for the tuna...I live in a coastal seafood town so it annoys me to find seafood from all over the world in my local grocery stores, a situation that is primarily money driven. I want it fresh, not frozen whenever possible, or at least from the U.S.A. So I've started purchasing Sushi grade tuna because it's never frozen. It's also milder, less gamey and wild in flavor, with a more moist texture.


Tuna Asparagus Panini With Viognier Tarragon Sauce 2


I also love the sharp taste of Yellow fin and will devour it if fresh caught. Personal preference, so choose whatever kind of tuna you enjoy. I used a sour dough bread that had a transparent airy texture. Better than a dense slice because it will form a fabulous crisp surface, a must with a panini.


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Not the prettiest picture but the best part for the chef/photographer :)


Tuna Asparagus Panini With Viognier Tarragon Sauce 8


Tuna Asparagus Panini With Viognier Tarragon Sauce


Printable Recipe


Prep Time - 15 minutes

Cook Time - 30 - 35 minutes

Total - 45 - 50 minutes

Serving Size - 2 sandwiches


Ingredients For Viognier Tarragon Sauce


-  1/2 cup mayonnaise

-  1 teaspoon sweet relish

-  1 tablespoon White Knight viognier (or other dry white wine)

-  1 teaspoon dried tarragon

-  1 1/4 teaspoon fresh Meyer lemon juice

-  pinch of pepper


Ingredients For Panini


-  1/2 tablespoon olive oil

-  1/2 pound Sushi grade tuna

-  salt and pepper to taste

-  10 asparagus spears, blanched for 2 minutes, then placed into ice water to cool and retain bright green color

-  .25 lb. of Landana Asparagus Gouda (or other melting cheese if you can't find this one)

-  4 slices sour dough bread (find this in the deli section, pre-sliced)

-  About 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons butter (I melt half in the pan and brown one side, then while it's cooking spread the rest on the other side and flip)


Directions For Viognier Tarragon Sauce


1.  Whisk all ingredients into a bowl.

2.  Set aside.


Directions For Panini


1.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.

2.  Cook tuna approximately 3 to 5 minutes on each side, depending on thickness and how you like your tuna.

3.  Fork into large pieces.

4.  While tuna is in the pan, blanche asparagus for 2 minutes. Then place into cold water. Drain before placing onto sandwich. Cut to fit the length of the bread. The ends make great snacks :)

5.  When tuna is done, slice and divide cheese between all 4 pieces of bread. This becomes the glue that holds everything in place when it melts.

6.  Place tuna onto one side of bread.

7.  Set asparagus spears over tuna.

8.  Heat skillet over medium low heat and melt half of the butter. Carefully close the sandwiches. Brown on one side until golden and crispy, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Spread the rest of the butter on the top side, flip, and brown for about 5 to 10 more minutes, until golden and the cheese has melted.

9.  Remove sandwich from pan and cut in half.

10.  Spoon some sauce into a bowl and dip away. You get a nice dollop of deliciousness in every bite! If you have any sauce left over, it's also fantastic on fried seafood like crab cakes, shrimp, and scallops.


Store leftovers in the refrigerator for only 3 to 4 days. To reheat sandwich, preheat oven to 350. Lay sandwich open faced on a sheet pan. Top with foil. Heat for 15 minutes. Then remove foil, close sandwich, and heat for another 15 minutes, or until hot, turning half way through. It may not be as crispy as when it's first prepared, but better than reheating in the microwave. 


What kind of panini creations are you whipping up in your kitchen? Please share in the comments below!


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