Following a lawsuit filed by two California customers at the start of this year, claiming Subway’s tuna sandwich is “made from anything but tuna”, a series of lab tests commissioned by the New York Times have failed to identify any tuna DNA in the chain’s tuna sub. In these developments, a New York Times reporter acquired “more than 60in worth of Subway tuna sandwiches” from three Los Angeles storefronts, then engaged a specialised fish-testing lab. Researchers were unable to pinpoint an exact species.
“There’s two conclusions,” a lab spokesperson told the New York Times. “One, it’s so heavily processed that whatever we could pull out, we couldn’t make an identification.
“Or we got some and there’s just nothing there that’s tuna.”
With over 22,000 storefronts across the United States, alone, Subway has fiercely defended the integrity of its tuna supply, calling the January lawsuit “baseless”. The US website also claims to serve “100% wild caught tuna”.
These findings follow last year’s ruling from the Ireland Supreme Court, that Subway bread isn’t actually bread. Legally speaking, the sandwich chain’s bread contains too much sugar to be considered bread under the country’s VAT Act of 1972, where tax exempt-bread can’t have sugar, fat, or bread improver exceed two percent of the weight of flour. In Subway’s recipe, sugar makes up a huge 10 percent of the weight of the flour, which led the court to find Subway’s bread is legally closer to cake. So, in theory, Subway have remarkably created a tuna sandwich that contains no tuna or bread.
That rare phenomena, this tuna sandwich recipe does contain both actual tuna and actual bread. You could, of course, push the boat out and make your own bread, but shop/bakery-bought is absolutely fine as it’s the filling that really stands out here. In place of tinned tuna, this tuna sandwich is filled with seared tuna loin, sliced and shingled over a lightly toasted sub roll. It’s then topped with a simple salsa of charred corn, lime, red onion, and coriander; finished with Kewpie mayo and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
- Heavy-based frying pan, skillet or griddle pan
- 150 g fresh tuna
- 2 sub rolls/Vienna rolls
- 1 corn on the cob
- ½ small red onion finely chopped
- 5 sprigs coriander finely chopped
- ½ green chilli/jalapeño finely chopped (optional)
- ½ lime juice only
- Kewpie mayo to taste
- Sesame seeds to taste
- Olive oil or other cooking oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To make the simple corn salsa, heat a heavy-based frying pan or griddle pan until screaming hot and heavily char the corn over high heat for around 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Season generously with sea salt and leave to cool slightly.
- While the corn cooks and cools, finely chop the red onion, coriander, and chilli if using.
- Also pat the tuna dry with kitchen roll/paper then drizzle and rub with cooking oil, followed by sea salt.
- Turn the corn on the cob onto its end and, using a sharp knife, slice the kernels off. Mix with the red onion, coriander, chilli, and lime juice. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.
- Slice the sub rolls and drizzle each side with a little olive oil. Place under a hot grill for 1-2 minutes, until lightly toasted. Drizzle Kewpie mayo over both halves, to taste.
- Heat a saucepan large enough for the tuna over high heat for around 1 minute, then gently place the tuna into the pan and cook on each side for one minute.
- Remove the tuna from the pan and season with freshly ground black pepper, then use a sharp knife to cut into 2-5mm slices.
- To assemble the sandwich, lay the tuna slices on the bottom half of the sub roll, then top with a tablespoon or so of the corn salsa and a pinch of sesame seeds.