Diner-style tuna melts feature a successful trio of gooey cheese, creamy tuna, and crunchy grilled bread, along with the ubiquitous side of french fries. Here tuna salad is stuffed inside a crispy potato skin and draped with a layer of bubbly cheese. The potato skin acts as bread slice and french fry all in one.
What to buy: Look for potatoes in 5-pound bags, as they tend to be smaller in size than loose potatoes. Avoid green-spotted or sprouted potatoes—they contain the bitter toxin solanine.
Game plan: You’ll need to make the tuna salad before you begin.
- Yields: 16 potato skins
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr 30 mins
- 8 (3-inch-long) russet potatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds), scrubbed and thoroughly dried
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups tuna salad (see Game Plan note)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone or cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
- Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- Pierce each potato several times with a fork or sharp knife. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until the skins are crisp and a knife easily pierces the potatoes, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Set the oven to the broil setting.
- Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch intact; reserve the flesh for another use. Brush the insides of the potatoes with the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Flip the potatoes over, brush the skin sides with butter, and season with salt and pepper. Evenly space the potato halves skin side up on a baking sheet and broil until the butter foams and the skins start to crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes (keep a close watch so they don’t burn). Flip the potato halves over and broil until the top edges just start to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Divide the tuna salad evenly among the skins and sprinkle each with cheese. Place in the broiler and broil until the tuna is warmed through and the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 4 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.