This recipe for the best ever tuna tomato melt was adapted from a dish served in a restaurant called Fiddlers in South Florida. The restaurant no longer exists, but my fond memories of eating there as a kid do. My mom and I would always order their “tuna tomato crisp.” It was a massive beefsteak tomato sliced open, piled with tuna salad and topped with lots of melted cheddar. Over the years, I haven’t found a tuna tomato melt that compares, so I created my own version so I could enjoy it at home.
What makes this special is the way the tomato is sliced open. It’s easy to do, doesn’t wobble around and cooks very fast. I usually make this in a medium-large ripe tomato, but you can make this really fun by choosing small tomatoes or even cherry tomatoes. Top with lots of melted cheese, blast in a hot oven and everyone will love them. The best part is you don’t need to spend time coring and stuffing the tomato. Just split it open like a flower and pile the tuna on top.
This recipe starts with really good tuna salad. It has lots of crunchy veggies and is light on the mayonnaise. Make your tuna however you prefer, but just try it this way once. You may thank me. You can serve the tomato on top of your favorite salad mix or baby spinach. Dress it very lightly or not at all. There is so much flavor in this recipe, you don’t need a lot of dressing. I could eat this every day. It’s healthy and really, really yum.
This recipe makes a little extra tuna salad.
- 2 cans albacore tuna
- 3 tablespoons (or more if you prefer) onion, finely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 pickle spear, 1 tablespoon of pickle relish OR 1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons high quality mayonnaise
- 1-2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- Freshly ground pepper and salt
- 2 large tomatoes
- 2-4 slices cheddar cheese
Heat oven or toaster oven to broil.
Drain the tuna and add to a small bowl. Using a fork, flake the tuna. Mix in the onion, celery, pickle (or relish or capers), mayonnaise, mustard and parsley. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Cut out the stem from the tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in slices, without cutting through the bottom. Press your hand on the top of the tomato to fan out the slices. Pack the tuna salad into the tomatoes and arrange on a foil covered sheet pan. Top each with 1-2 slices of cheese, depending on how indulgent you are feeling.
Pop the stuffed tomatoes into the oven, close to the top heat and keep your eye on them. The goal is to just melt the cheese and get a little brown crust. This should take about 5-8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the tomatoes on top of your dressed salad greens.