No-Cook Month: Herbed Tuna in Tomatoes

Today on Serious Eats: No-Cook Berry Crisp. Good off the bat, tremendous after a day in the fridge.

(Number of times the word “tomato” appears in this post: 25.)

If you don’t like tomatoes, this is a good time to run far, far away, perhaps to another blog of many vegetables and better photos. Perhaps to Kalyn's Kitchen. Perhaps to I Heart Kale. Perhaps to this. (Which? I’m not usually one for mocking children, but … wow. That’s uncanny.)

If you do like tomatoes, stick around. Pour yourself a glass of tomato juice. Have a seat on the tomato-colored sofa. Listen to Shonen Knife’s “Tomato Head.” Gaze at this early picture of Tori Amos, whose hair color could most aptly be described as either “tomato” or “many tomatoes mating on a bed of many other tomatoes.”

Because this recipe? It’s tomato-ey. It’s Real Simple’s Herbed Tuna in Tomatoes, and it’s perfect for A) the season, and B) when canned fish goes on sale at the local grocery store, both of which happened last week in Brooklyn.

I made the dish twice, the first time following the Real Simple directions as written. And? Meh. Since you’re not asked to seed/de-pulp the tomatoes, the dish turned out entirely too watery, which diluted its flavor and generally made a mess.

The second time, I went rogue. Like Sarah Palin, only legitimate. (Incidentally, does anyone else’s brain trick you into reading her book title as Going Rouge? Mine does. Every. Time.)

Anyway, I seeded everything, drained the bejeezus out of the tuna, and played with the ratios of the other ingredients. The results? Pretty dang good. While the overwhelming flavor remained TOMATO, it balanced better with the lemon juice and capers. I might even add more lemon/caper/parsley/olive oil, but that’s just me.

Needless to say, the quality of Herbed Tuna in Tomatoes hinges largely on the quality of your tomatoes. Roma/plum tomatoes will be tasty, but too small. “Slicing” tomatoes will have the opposite problem. On-the-vine tomatoes are a good compromise, since they’re exactly the right size, usually ripe, and cheap enough that you’ll still be able to afford your mortgage.

As for everything else, you just need to know the following keywords: healthy, inexpensive, 15-minute prep time, no-cook, meaty, fresh, flugelhorn.

Oh yeah, and: TOMATO. Enjoy!


If you like the way this looks, get a load of these:

Herbed Tuna in Tomatoes
Yields 2 stuffed tomatoes.
Adapted from Real Simple.

2 medium tomatoes
1 5-ounce can tuna packed in water, drained really well
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1/8 to 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1) Slice the top third off of each tomato. Scoop out the insides, discarding all the wet innards and seeds. Chop the remaining flesh, and put it into a medium bowl. Do the same with the tomato tops, making sure to remove the stems.

2) Add tuna, capers, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil into the same bowl. Stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

3) Divide the mixture among the tomatoes. If you like, refrigerate for a few minutes while you clean up. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per serving
162 calories, 8.9 g fat, 2 g fiber, 14.8 g protein, $1.32

2 medium tomatoes: 44 calories, 0.5 g fat, 3 g fiber, 2.2 g protein, $1.07
1 5-ounce can tuna packed in water, drained: 145 calories, 3.4 g fat, 0 g fiber, 26.7 g protein, $0.66
1 tablespoon capers, chopped: 2 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.3 g fiber, 0.2 g protein, $0.03
1/8 to 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped: 4 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.4 g fiber, 0.3 g protein, $0.33
Zest of 1/2 lemon: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.00
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice: 10 calories, 0 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.40
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil: 119 calories, 13.5 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.12
Kosher salt: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.01
Freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.01
TOTAL: 324 calories, 17.7 g fat, 3.9 g fiber, 29.5 g protein, $2.63
PER SERVING (TOTAL/2): 162 calories, 8.9 g fat, 2 g fiber, 14.8 g protein, $1.32