Pomodori ripieni di tonno (Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes)

Pomodori ripieni di tonno (Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes)

In antipasti by Frank24 Comments

At our house, summer is a time for unfussy, often no cook eating. Even the most hardcore ‘foodies’ tend to get a little lazy in the kitchen when the hot weather sets in, and I’m no exception to the rule.

Here’s a great example of the kind of thing we like to eat when the temperatures climb: Pomodori ripieni di tonno, or Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes. There’s no cooking involved and, other than the slightly tricky exercise of prepping the tomatoes, no fuss or muss. You can make the stuffing ahead or, indeed, assemble everything ahead and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Ingredients

Serves 4 as an antipasto

  • 4 medium tomatoes

For the tuna stuffing:

  • 1 medium or 2 small cans (about 200g/7oz) tunafish, preferably packed in olive oil
  • 3-4 Tb mayonnaise, preferably homemade, or more to taste
  • 1 Tb capers, rinsed
  • A sprig of parsley, or a few leaves of basil or fresh thyme or marjoram, finely chopped

Optional:

  • A few anchovy filled, chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg, peeled and chopped
  • A few black olives, pitted and chopped

Directions

Cut the stem and tops off the tomatoes. Using a small spoon and, if necessary, a paring knife, scoop out the seeds and interior ribs of the tomatoes until you are left with only the outer wall. Salt the insides well and turn the tomatoes upside down on a rack. Let them drain for a good 30 minutes or more. NB: If the tomatoes don’t stand up on their own, slice a very thin layer off their bottoms to form a flat surface.

While the tomatoes are draining, combine all the stuffing ingredients (along with the one or more of the optional ingredients if using) in a large bowl, mixing well. Keep the stuffing in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

When the tomatoes have had time to drain, wipe their insides gently with a paper towel. Spoon the stuffing inside each of the tomatoes. Don’t be afraid to pile it on! If you like, you can add the tops back on as a kind of ‘hat’ for the stuffed tomatoes.

Serve at room temperature. If making ahead, keep them in the fridge, take them out a few minutes before serving.

Pomodori ripieni di tonno (Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes)

Notes on Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes

In a recipe as simple as this, the success of your Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes will depend almost entirely on the quality of the ingredients, especially the tomatoes and the tunafish. The sad story of supermarket tomatoes in this country is familiar enough. There’s no need to beat a dead horse. But if you have access to a farmer’s market or grow your own, this is the felicitous time of year when you can hope to find some real, juicy, flavorful tomatoes fit for this dish. Look for small to medium sized tomatoes. You want an agreeable balance between the tomato and its savory filling. You can even go for really small tomatoes, fit for making ‘finger food’ for cocktails, although that makes for some really fussy prep work. If do you have larger tomatoes like ‘beefsteaks’ on hand, consider making a Tomato Tonnato.

As for the tunafish, look for tunafish packed in olive oil, which—to my mind—has far more flavor than the find that’s packed in vegetable oil or, God forbid, water. And here’s a dish where it’s worth splurging on those really expensive jars of ventresca, if you’re so inclined. Fellow blogger Vincent Scordo has done a great job summarizing your options when choosing canned tunafish.

The other key ingredient for your Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes is the mayonnaise. Homemade is best, of course, but if you don’t have the time or inclination, a good quality jarred mayo will do, especially if you doctor it a bit by whisking in a bit of olive oil and a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice, as explained in this post. Or just add a drizzle to the filling mixture and stir well to incorporate it.

If you are up for cooking, there is a baked version of Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes. Or even better, try pomodori ripieni di riso, or rice stuffed tomatoes.

 

Pomodori ripieni di tonno (Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes)

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 as an antipasto

Pomodori ripieni di tonno (Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes)

Ingredients

  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • For the tuna stuffing:
  • 1 medium or 2 small cans (about 200g/7oz) tunafish, preferably packed in olive oil
  • 3-4 Tb mayonnaise, preferably homemade, or more to taste
  • 1 Tb capers, rinsed
  • A sprig of parsley, or a few leaves of basil or fresh thyme or marjoram, finely chopped
  • Optional:
  • A few anchovy filled, chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg, peeled and chopped
  • A few black olives, pitted and chopped

Directions

  1. Cut the stem and tops off the tomatoes. Using a small spoon and, if necessary, a paring knife, scoop out the seeds and interior ribs of the tomatoes until you are left with only the outer wall. Salt the insides well and turn the tomatoes upside down on a rack. Let them drain for a good 30 minutes or more. NB: If the tomatoes don't stand up on their own, slice a very thin layer off their bottoms to form a flat surface.
  2. While the tomatoes are draining, combine all the stuffing ingredients (along with the one or more of the optional ingredients if using) in a large bowl, mixing well. Keep the stuffing in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
  3. When the tomatoes have had time to drain, wipe their insides gently with a paper towel. Spoon the stuffing inside each of the tomatoes. Don't be afraid to pile it on! If you like, you can add the tops back on as a kind of 'hat' for the stuffed tomatoes.
  4. Serve at room temperature. If making ahead, keep them in the fridge, take them out a few minutes before serving.
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Comments

  1. These are wonderful! I can see the filling in cherry tomatoes for a lovely appetizer with rose or even champagne. Lovely.

    1. Author

      Either would be lovely. I actually had these with a rosé and the combination was very nice…

  2. This looks just like the recipe idea I need. Here in northern Australia we are in the middle of our tropical winter which is the perfect time for growing tomatoes. This afternoon I was tending to my patch and notice tomatoes are forming. I can’t wait to try stuffing them with tuna!

    1. Author

      With your own homegrown tomatoes, I’m sure it’s be fantastic. Thanks for your comment, Marcellina!

  3. A favorite go-to preparation during the dog days of summer when my little orto is at full production. But how right you are when you say that this dish is totally dependent upon quality ingredients.

    1. Author

      I bet your little orto is just brimming with the fruits of your labor just about now…

  4. Frank – Mark and just bought some beautiful tomatoes at the market so that we could make this for dinner one night this week. Thanks for “giving me permission” not to cook occasionally. Hope you are having a good summer!

  5. I was literally thinking of making this very dish yesterday when I got your post! They look great. It’s so hot, it’s the perfect dish for this time of year!

    1. Author

      Yep, they’d be a lovely way to accompany a negroni sbagliato or an Aperol Spritz

  6. è il momento giusto per gustare questi piatti freddi, lo considero un piatto unico accompagnato da una birra fresca !Buon we Frank !

  7. They are very good. I wonder if they’d be good stuffed with tinned red salmon; I have some. Also have tuna, in olive oil of course. Idem sardines in olive oil, though those would be a bit strong with this recipe. Better in a salad with some tomatoes, onions and greens.

    1. Author

      I bet red salmon would be quite nice, but I do agree that sardines might be a bit too strong. Worth a try perhaps, to put that to the test?

  8. I am a real sucker for stuffed tomatoes. My favorite is a zucchini mushroom stuffed tomato that I serve with our rack of lamb. Your recipe is perfect for a light summer meal. I will make it as soon as I can get my favorite tomatoes at the farmer’s market.

      1. I made it and it was delicious, I added a boiled egg and about 4 little anchovie fillets. Thank you! O

  9. I’ve never had a stuffed tomato! This sounds perfect. I’m not such a fan of stuffed peppers, because I just don’t want to eat a whole pepper, but I’d eat a whole tomato any time. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Author

      Never had a stuffed tomato??? Well, imho you’ve been missing out on a real treat. Hope you do try this…

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