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Tuna-Stuffed Tomatoes

I didn’t grow up to be a tea-sandwiches-with-the-crusts-cut-off kind of gal.  In fact, in high school, my standard sassy line to my own mother whenever she (frequently) got on my nerves was a question about whether she really wanted me to be just like Tricia Nixon, sitting primly at a ladies tea eating white bread sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Fast forward a few decades and here I am, happily cutting off the crusts for tea sandwiches for a baby shower for the daughter of one of my close friends. 

The menu for the shower was tea party foods. I volunteered to make tea sandwiches (of course) and small scones, along with lemon mousse. Although there were several types of sandwiches, I felt as though the menu needed a colorful, vegetable-based dish.

stuffed tomato recipe

The stuffed tomatoes idea came to me as I strolled down the produce aisle and realized that Campari tomatoes are the perfect size for stuffing – big enough to easily hollow out, but not so big that the stuffing would be an overwhelming amount of food. Campari tomatoes are bigger than cherry tomatoes and smaller than regular ones. They are typically sold on a stem, in a hard shell plastic box.  As you can see, they are slightly larger than a large-size egg.

Campari tomatoes

This recipe is gluten and dairy-free, a simple but elegant brunch, lunch, or tea-time dish.  

Tuna-Stuffed Tomatoes

Adapted from the New York Times Cook Book, revised edition

Serves – 8-10   Cost – $9

Ingredients

ingredients for tuna-stuffed tomatoes
  • 8-10 Campari tomatoes
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
  • 1-5 ounce can of solid white meat tuna, preferably packed in olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons or more chopped/cut fresh chives, plus extra for garnishing the tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoons capers
  • 1 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Small spoon, preferably a grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge
  • Pot (to boil eggs)
  • Colander or small bowl
  • Wire rack & comething to catch dripping water underneath
  • Measuring spoons
  • Scissors (optional) – to cut chives
  • Large fork
  • Medium size bowl
  • Plate and plastic wrap/aluminum foil or container
  • Paper towel

Preparation

  1. Boil the eggs. 
  2. While the eggs are boiling, wash the tomatoes, slice off the top where they would be attached to the vine, and hollow them out.  Be careful not to pierce the skin on the tomato bottom or sides as you move the spoon around. A serrated-edge spoon works best for cutting the membrane that holds the seeds and pulp inside the tomato. 
  3. hollowing out tomatoes before stuffing them

  4. Discard the tomato seeds and pulp, and lightly salt the hollow insides of the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes face side down on a wire rack on top of a cutting board or sheet of waxed paper or paper towel for approximately 30 minutes, until a bit of juice seeps out. In the picture below a few tomatoes are turned right side up, just so that you can see them hollowed out.  
  5. Once the eggs are done boiling, cool and peel them. I cool the eggs down quickly by quickly dousing them with cold water, then transferring them to a colander (like a strainer but rigid) or a small bowl, covered with ice cubes until they are cold to the touch. Alternatively you can run them under cold water for a few minutes and then refrigerate them, but that cooling process takes longer.  
  6. chopped eggs

  7. Chop the hard-boiled eggs. You need not chop them finely or be too obsessive about how regular the pieces are, as the eggs can be further mashed when you mix them with the other ingredients.
  8. how to make stuffed tomatoes

  9. Put into a bowl all the ingredients except the tomatoes and the extra chives for garnish. I prefer to cut my chives with a scissor, rather than cutting them with a knife, but either method works. Mix the ingredients until thoroughly blended.  Add salt and additional pepper if desired.
  10. Turn the tomatoes right-side up. Gently remove any excess water with a paper towel. 
  11. filling stuffed tomatoes

  12. Stuff the tomatoes with the tuna/egg mixture.  Mound the tuna/egg mixture slightly, but do not press it down too firmly. Garnish the filled tomatoes with chopped/cut chives.
  13. stuffed tomatoes ready for tea party

  14. Refrigerate the stuffed tomatoes covered until ready to serve. They will last for several hours.  You can also make the tuna/egg mixture the day before and keep it refrigerated, hollowing out the tomatoes and stuffing them on the day you will serve them.

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