Italian Tuna Melts with Perfect Tomato Soup
I rather enjoy my dinners with Dan. He's good company. Good conversation. And (as we discovered tonight) our bratty dogs seem to get along with each other. Spring time in Oregon is never sure what it wants to be. Today went from grey overcast chill to hot, muggy sunshine rather quickly. On my way to the store, I considered scrapping the whole hot soup and tuna melts idea for something that required less time bent over the stove. By the time I pulled into the Trader Joe's parking lot, however, the cold and sudden wind changed my tune again. Besides . . . this particular tuna melt variation is not heavy and mayonnaise-laden. Instead, it's full of veggies and a light tasting dressing. The perfect meal to share with a friend on movie night or just sitting around and chatting on a spring evening. Nothing too fancy, but certainly delicious and filling.
- 2 7 oz. cans albacore tuna packed in olive oil
- 1/2 c. chopped Italian parsley, divided
- 1/4 c. Kalamata olives, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. capers, chopped
- 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
- juice from 1 lemon
- 4-5 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 ciabatta loaf, halved lengthwise
- 4 slices Provolone cheese
- 1 white onion, peeled and diced
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with their juices
- 4 oz. roasted jarred piquillo peppers, diced
- pinch of sugar
- lemon pepper
- 2 c. chicken broth
- crème fraîche
Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large soup pot over medium. Add white onions and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until they become translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Add tomatoes in their juices and piquillo peppers, stir to combine. Add several grinds of lemon pepper and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat, cover, and cook over low for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350˚ F. Place halved ciabatta loaf, open faced, on a foil-lined baking sheet. In a large bowl mix together tuna (with its oil), half the Italian parsley, lemon juice, vinegar, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, red onion, artichoke hearts, capers, and olives. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Spread tuna mixture equally onto ciabatta halves and top with Provolone cheese. Place in oven and bake until cheese begins to melt and bread becomes toasty, about 15 minutes.
After soup has simmered, remove from heat and add a pinch of sugar, remaining Italian parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Puree soup in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender until soup in smooth.
Remove cooked tuna melts from oven and cut each half in half crosswise. Divide soup among four bowls and top each serving with a dollop of crème fraîche. Serve each bowl of soup with a slice of tuna melt. Perfect for dipping.