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Tuesday 6 December 2011

Iceland Ultimate Snacks Tuna Melt Panini

You know, I'm just going to have to accept that Iceland's 'Ultimate Snacks' line is going to be a permanent and regular exception to my 'Keeping Away From The Microwave' ideal. Here, we have a freezer-friendly, ready-made tuna melt, made with red onion, which is ready to eat - from frozen - in a mere two minutes. I believe it would be doing a disservice to any blog named 'snacks & the single man' to exclude the range entirely because, cooking method aside, it fits the concept admirably.

Or does it?

On the whole, I'm going to be quite positive here. For just £1, you get a decent-sized panini which is, indeed, ready in two minutes. Whereas with the sausage and egg muffin, you have to cook it in two stages - contents first, then the whole - this one only requires that you turn it over halfway through. I'd guess this is mainly to ensure good ventilation, since its plastic bag is perforated.

While the texture of the panini's crust is never going to be the same from frozen as it is when fresh (it actually turns out soft and rather rubbery), it's really not too bad, and certainly doesn't come out soggy, which can so easily happen with dealing with bread products in a microwave. The flavour of the bread is good, and the filling actually tastes amazing - the tuna and cheese blend nicely, the red onion component is a distinct enough flavour without becoming overpowering and, hell, you can even tell there's black pepper in the mix without having to examine the ingredients list. In short, it tastes like a really good tuna melt.

But is that enough? When you look at the photo on the packaging, what you see is a panini that's full to overflowing with tuna, cheese and onion - like you'd make yourself, or the sort of thing you could buy in a high street sandwich shop or café. Sadly, the packaging is very misleading. The product contained therein has nothing like that quantity of filling - comparatively speaking, it's an almost insultingly thin smear of filling within the panini. I'd estimate that the only way they could get a photo like the one on the packaging, using the same amount of filling, would be to have piled it up around the two visible edges of the panini.

It's one of those things you must deliberate and weigh in your own hearts, stomachs and wallets. If you were to buy the components, and make one from scratch, I honestly doubt you could make a better tuna melt at a unit cost of £1... It's quick to cook, tastes amazing, and is incredibly cheap... but does that make up for the meagre quantity of filling?

Personally, I'd say it does... There are always caveats with ready-made products, but purely in terms of flavour, this is one of the winners in the 'Ultimate Snacks' line.

...But I'm adding 'tuna melt' to my list of 'Things to Try to Make From Scratch', just in case.

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