Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Polpettone di tonno

This is what I made on Good Friday when fish - same as in many other countries - is the traditional dish here. I wanted something that could be prepared in advance and that would go well with the wonderfully warm temperatures so I settled on polpettone di tonno, tuna loaf, something I have been meaning to try for ages. The polpettone is poached and the cooled before serving. I made it according to the recipe in Betty Bossi's Italienische K├╝che, with slight alterations, and I saw that there is a recipe in Joyce Goldstein's Cucina Ebraica: Flavours of the Italian Jewish Kitchen as well. I served it with a light dip made from fromage frais and basil leaves which I crushed in a pestle and mortar with some sea salt - a little Jamie Oliver trick.

Polpettone di tonno (serves 6-8 as a starter)

  • 390g tuna in brine (drained weight)
  • 100g white bread (only the inner part)
  • 1 dl milk
  • 2 stalks celery, very finely diced
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g Parmesan
  • 1 bunch flat-leafed parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • a little black pepper
  • a hint of nutmeg and cayenne each
Rip the bread into pieces and pour the milk over it. Let stand for a little while, then squeeze out the excess milk. Mash the bread with a fork. Drain the tuna and flake into a bowl. Add the bread, eggs and parmesan and mix well (it's easiest when done by hand). Add the herbs, garlic, celery and seasonings. Mix well. Place a clean tea towel under the cold tap, wring out and lay on the working surface. Form the tuna mixture into a loaf and place in the middle of the towel. Roll up tightly and tie the ends with string. Place the loaf in a large saucepan of simmering water, it must be entirely covered. Simmer for 40 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely before unwrapping and slicing it. It is best served straight from the fridge.

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