If the title above is confusing, I am convinced you are not alone. This is a confusing recipe. It draws on a lot of different dishes and it comes together like a fancy tuna sandwich. But you must trust me, these Tuna Rangoon Trapizzini are well worth your attention. I think this will be my picnic sandwich of choice all summer long. So what are you looking at? Well, you’re looking at a filling inspired by the American crab rangoon made with Japanese ingredients stuffed into a pizza/sandwich hybrid popular on the streets of Rome. You know, nothing crazy or anything.
Yes, this Tuna Rangoon Trapizzini pulls from a variety of cuisines. So let’s dissect it. The tuna Rangoon is a riff on crab rangoon – an American tiki menu classic that made its debut in 1956. My reimagined Rangoon not only has tuna instead of crab, but it also boasts Japanese ingredients like wasabi, ponzu, and mirin. I opted for tuna instead of crab for one simple reason – my boyfriend does not like crab and I didn’t want the burden of eating crab rangoon all by my lonesome for a week straight.
Typically, crab rangoon is a mixture of cream cheese, crab meat, and Worcestshire sauce wrapped up in a wonton wrapper and deep-fried. The appetizer first appeared on a Trader Vic’s menu in San Francisco in 1956. The owner of the popular tiki bar Victor Bergeron claimed it was based on a traditional Burmese recipe but that is highly unlikely, to say the least. Regardless of its dubious origins, crab rangoon is still a popular menu item today, though it doesn’t enjoy the position of opulence it once did. “Guilty pleasure” feels a touch more apt these days.
Quite obviously I abandoned the wonton wrappers completely and swapped them for trapizzini. Now, if you don’t know what a trapizzino is, you’re most definitely not alone. When I posted a video of me making these, a lot of people told me they had never heard of them. And to be fair, I had never heard of trapizzino until recently. Like in the last couple of years recently. And there’s a very good reason for that – I don’t live in Rome.
Trapizzini is a popular Roman street food that is more or less a sandwich/pizza hybrid. Essentially, a focaccia-style dough is baked naked on a baking sheet and divided into triangles. They make an incision along the center of the triangle and stuff the bread with common pizza toppings. Think cheese, cured meat, rapini – that sort of thing. I’m sure a Roman would blanch at the sight of this monstrosity I have created. I don’t think they subscribe to the Rangoon lifestyle. I could be wrong, though.
Now, this recipe does require that you make your own pizza dough and a fluffy one at that. If your go-to pizza dough recipe results in a thin crust situation, I would recommend doubling the recipe. You want your final crust to be quite thick. If it’s too thin, the pocket you create won’t be sturdy enough to accommodate the filling. The dough recipe listed below belongs to my Hot Hawaiian Pizza recipe and it works perfectly in this context. It has just the right amount of fluffiness for these Tuna Rangoon Trapizzini.
As far as toppings go, the world is truly your oyster. For my Tuna Rangoon Trapizzini, I opted for cucumber slices, daikon radish microgreens, and crushed wasabi peas. I threw a few lilac blooms in there for fun, but if you’re short on edible flowers don’t worry, they’re only there for the cuteness of it all. I wouldn’t suggest skipping the wasabi peas, though. They add the perfect amount of crunch, reinforce the wasabi in the tuna, and add a striking pop of green. These are all things you should want for your trapizzino.
So that’s everything you need to know about these Tuna Rangoon Trapizzini with Crushed Wasabi Peas. Sure this recipe may come across as, um, bizarre but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. These trapizzini are a fun, unexpected, and a worthy addition to your picnic basket.
Tuna Rangoon Trapizzini with Crushed Wasabi Peas
- 13×18" baking sheet
- Stand mixer with a hook attachment
- 2¼ cups warm water
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 3½ cups bread flour
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp wasabi paste
- ¼ cup ponzu
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 227g (8oz) cream cheese softened
- 3 cans flaked tuna packed in water drained
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 2-3 mini cucumbers thinly sliced
- 1 cup daikon microgreens
- ½ cup wasabi peas crushed
For the Dough
- Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes or until foamy.
- Pour the yeast and water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix on low until a loose dough forms.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue adding the flour in 1/2 cup increments, waiting for each addition to become fully integrated before adding more. Only add as much flour as you need to create a dough that cleans the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and silky to the touch, about 5-7 minutes. Once the dough is ready, grease a 13×18" baking sheet with the remaining olive oil. Stretch the dough out into a rough rectanglar shape and place it in the center of the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour and a half or until doubled in size.
- In the last half hour of the dough's proofing time, preheat the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl stir to combine the sesame seeds and set aside. Once the dough has risen, drizzle the surface with additional olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 8 equally sized rectangles and place the baking sheet in the oven. Really press down with bench scraper, we want to be able to divide the bread along these lines after we bake it. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden, turning once halfway through.
- Take the pan out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before breaking the bread apart using the lines you created with the bench scraper and set aside to cool.
For the Tuna Rangoon
- Place the wasabi, ponzu, and mirin in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the cream cheese and stir to form a thick cream sauce. Don't worry if there are a few lumps, you won't notice them in the final dish.
- Add the tuna and scallions and stir until all the ingredients are fully integrated. Set the Tuna Rangoon aside but don't refrigerate it.** We don't want the cream cheese to solidify.
- Take the pizza rectangles and cut them in half on the diagonal. Using a pairing knife, create an incision along the cut-side and gently tease the bread open with your fingers.
- Fill the pocket with as much Tuna Rangoon as you can fit and top with cucumber slices, microgreens, and wasabi peas. Refrigerate until ready to serve or serve immediately.