So here it is two days before Thanksgiving and I am posting a recipe that really doesn't have a "wow" factor. In fact - it's downright humble. But it is - fun. Remember fun? For my daughter, "fun food" is preparing "puppy chow" and settling down with a blanket, a cat and Gilmore Girls. For her mother, it's curling up on the sofa with Italian cookbooks while mindlessly munching on comfort - comfort being this tuna-potato pâté.
The recipe hails from Mary Ann Esposito's Ciao Italia in Tuscany. She calls it Pate di Tonno alla Maria Pia - Maria Pia's Tuna Pate. Maria Pia fashions a fish out of the mashed potato-tuna mixture and then adds homemade mayonnaise as scales on top. She even fashions a fishy-face with capers and parsley! She will then serve it simply with a salad or spring peas.
But since it has been established that I am a great lazybones - especially days before Thanksgiving, I simply dumped the mixture - with a little (store-bought) mayonnaise added into a loaf pan and forgot about it. For three days. As more grocery shopping got done, the pate was relegated to the cavernous back of the fridge - in danger of disappearing forever.
I like it. In fact, everyone liked it. Loved it. "What's in it?" I wanted to make up stuff - an exotic oil, a magical spice. But I confessed, "Mashed potatoes, tuna, mayonnaise and some capers." And my family just nodded their heads as another cracker was spread and eaten.
It's the perfect Sunday appetizer - easy-going: a little tang, a little salt and a whole bunch of smooth. Comfort food with a wee bit of attitude. This can be made days in advance and then trotted out at your whimsy. This will be on the "I'm not hungry, I'll just pick" table this holiday season during marathon baking sessions.
4 medium-sized cooked potatoes, cooled and peeled (about 1-3/4 pounds)
12-ounce can tuna packed in olive oil (Use a nice Italian tuna)
2 tablespoons capers in salt, rinsed
pinch sea salt
1/4-1/3 cup good mayonnaise
Preparation (I love this prep)
Combine all in a large bowl, mixing well. Lightly spray a loaf pan and put mixture in it. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about six hours or up to three (or more!) days. When ready to serve, simply unmold onto a plate. Serve with breads or crackers. I liked the arugula and thinly sliced radishes with it. The pate is mellow and a little peppery and crunchy bite was welcome. I might even add a dab of tuna on top of the pate.
*I would use three potatoes next time - as I like tuna and would like the pate to be more tuna-intense.
For those celebrating Thanksgiving, I wish you a gracious and grateful Thanksgiving. And to those not in "Thanksgiving-mode," I hope you have a lovely weekend of breaking bread with laughter and love.