I heart tuna melts. I'll eat 'em on anything: English muffins, crusty bread, even corn tortillas. But sometimes I find myself wishing there were some other, less starchy, way to enjoy them. Well, kids, there is: Behold the tomato, the perfect low-cal vessel to get all that melty goodness into your greedy little mouths.
Not only is a tomato cup a flavorful bread alternative, you're cutting out so many calories that you can really go nuts with the cheese. It's win-win!
For my first tomato cup extravaganza, I decided to use parm along with the more traditional cheddar to give it a little oomph. And a word about tuna: I don't use the kind that's packed in water. I don't care if it's better for me, or less fattening. Water-packed tuna is bland and sad. It tastes more like tin than tuna. My favorite oil-packed brands are Genova, which is absolutely delicious, followed by Cento.
4 medium tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
2 5-oz. cans of oil packed tuna
2 large ribs of celery, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
1 small bunch of chives, chopped
3 tbsp mayo
1 tsp creole (or cajun) seafood seasoning
1 blop of dijon mustard
freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano
sharp cheddar, thinly sliced, about 4 ounces
First, cut the tomatoes in half, horizontally. Remove and discard the seeds.
Scoop out some of the tomato flesh, chop and lightly salt it, and set aside.
Lightly salt the insides of the tomatoes and place them upside down on paper towels to drain.
Meanwhile, prepare your tuna salad. Combine the drained tuna, onion, celery, chives, mayo, mustard, creole seasoning, and salt and pepper. Keep tasting until it's seasoned just how you want it. (But don't eat too much of it while you're at it ... not that I've ever heard of anything like that happening.)
Pat the insides of the tomatoes dry, and coat both the inside and outside lightly with olive oil.
Fill up each tomato cup with the tuna, forming a small mound. Then place some of the reserved tomato flesh on top, followed by thin slices of cheddar, and finally top it off with a dusting of grated parm and pepper.
Bake in a glass casserole dish at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Garnish with some chopped chives to serve.
I served my tomato cups with a green leaf lettuce, sunflower seed, and carrot salad with a balsamic vinaigrette, but I bet they'd be delish with some tomato soup as well.