Summer Tomato and Tuna Salad ~ if you think canned tuna belongs between two slices of bread, think again, this vibrant salad is just as easy to make, healthier, and a whole lot more exciting.
*Today I’m teaming up with Genova Seafood®, my tuna of choice, and as you know, I greatly appreciate your support of my brand partners — I only work with companies that I love, and they help keep TVFGI up and cooking!
Go ahead, eat with your eyes, and when you’re finished, run out and grab the best tomatoes you can find. If you’ve been paying attention here at all lately you should already have a stack of Genova Wild Caught Albacore Tuna in your cupboard. This meal proves you don’t need a laundry list of ingredients to eat well, just a few perfectly ripe tomatoes, some fabulous tuna, and the best olive oil you can afford. A good grinding of fresh pepper helps, and maybe a dash of sherry vinegar, depending on your tomatoes.
I’ve gotten up close and personal with lots of canned tuna thanks to my partnership with Genova over the last couple of years. I’ve popped open countless lids, taste-tested it in so many different types of recipes, and photographed it from every angle. I’ve developed quite a lot of respect for these little cans of pure protein, and they’ve become the centerpiece of many a healthy meal around here.
I feel so good knowing I’ve always got a few cans of Genova tuna on hand. How else could I make dinner out of a pile of tomatoes?
This summer tomato and tuna salad was inspired by this week’s farmers market haul. The only problem is that ripe tomatoes, like fresh summer berries, wait for no one. They could be past their prime by morning, in fact one of them developed a big split just on the ride home ~ I knew we had to feast on them asap.
That’s where a great can of tuna comes in…I just sliced my tomatoes with a sharp serrated knife (gently!) and layered them on a platter with some fresh basil leaves. I popped open a couple of cans of Genova Wild Caught Albacore Tuna and lay the fish over the tomatoes. It’s packed in pure olive oil, and so I don’t need to drain it, I just carefully lift it out of the can and onto the salad, leaving the big chunks of filet intact. Some salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and a nice fruity olive oil is all it needs. You could add some shaving or Parmesan, or little mozzarella pearls if you like. I don’t know about you, but when it’s hot out ~ and it is ~ this is really all we need for dinner.
TIP: The natural acidity of the juice from vine ripe tomatoes mixes with olive oil to form a ‘dressing’ so you really don’t need vinegar…but you may want a few drops, so taste to be sure. If you want something a little more, zesty, try my KALAMATA VINAIGRETTE.
MINI GUIDE TO HEIRLOOM TOMATOES ~
- Heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated plants that have come down in families or communities. They’re plants that haven’t been cross-pollinated with any other tomato.
- Heirlooms are all the rage right now, and they’re downright expensive, but that’s because they’re not bred to be durable like hybrid tomatoes. They have to be harvested by hand and handled with extra care all the way from farmer to market. They also have a shorter shelf life.
- Heirlooms come in a kaleidoscope of colors and odd, uneven shapes, and that’s part of their charm. I love to slice them because the inside is just as gorgeous as the outside!
- You can buy them in farmers markets and some supermarkets. Trader Joe’s usually carries them too.
- When choosing an heirloom tomato, go easy. They are so delicate that your regular ‘squeeze and sniff’ test could bruise them. I like to choose fairly firm tomatoes.
- Don’t refrigerate tomatoes of any kind, they’ll get mushy. Keep them on the counter, away from the sun. Once cut, eat it right away.
- If you love to garden, heirloom tomatoes are fun to grow, and lots of wonderful seeds are available, check out my AMERICAN ARTISANS feature on SMARTSEEDS for details.
Genova’s pop top cans are so convenient you’ll always have an alternative to that drive through burger. I know you’ve got choices out there for your canned tuna, but the next time you see Genova on your supermarket shelf, give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. The Italian tradition of preserving it in great quality heart healthy olive oil really makes a difference, you’ll want to eat it straight from the can, just like I do :)
- 3 full sized heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 2 cups assorted heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 5-ounce cans Genova Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil
- handful of fresh basil, both purple and green
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Sherry or balsamic vinegar for drizzling
- Arrange the sliced tomatoes on a platter, and top with the cherry tomatoes.
- Spoon the tuna and some of the olive oil it's packed in over the tomatoes. Scatter the basil across the salad.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, and then drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and vinegar.
- Enjoy right away.
Make it your own ~
- Like I said above, you can add some shaved Parmesan, or fresh mozzarella to make this Summer Tomato and Tuna Salad a little more substantial.
- Make up your favorite mayo based tuna salad and add it to the tomatoes.
- Capers or black olives would add a nice touch.
- Lots of thinly sliced red onions would be great.
- You could use fresh dill or thyme in place of the basil.
- Make this into a full-on SALAD NIÇOISE if you like. Or, add lots of satisfying canned beans to make my MEDITERRANEAN TUNA SALAD WITH TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE.