Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuna-Potato Pâté

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.

The original recipe from Mary Ann Esposito can be found here

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. 


Ciao Chow Linda said...

This looks like it could qualify for one of those Cibreo "baby food" pureed recipes! It may look bland, but I'll bet it tastes great. Happy Thanksgiving Claudia.

Torviewtoronto said...

this is wonderfully done looks fabulous

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

This combination of flavors sounds perfectly lovely...and your arugula and radish garnish are perfect~

For accents, hold down the alt button and type 0233 for é or 0232 for è. If you google accent codes, you'll come up with a whole bunch of options. Hope this works. I have a laptop keyboard and have to also hold down the Fn key.

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving, my friend~

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

This looks wonderful, oh by the way I loved making puppy chow, that was a great snack! Havent thought of that in years! I hope you and yours have a blessed day and many many more ahead... thanks for always being there.~

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

It sounds "easy peasy" to make and sounds quite tasty! A winner in my book, Claudia!

Wishing you and your family a joyful Thanksgiving!


What matters
most is that it taste great and it brings so much joy to those who partake it.
Happy thanksgiving Claudia... I'm grateful for the friendly visits you make and the encouraging comments you make all the time.
Enjoy Thanksgiving with your family.

Angie's Recipes said...

I have never made any pate...this seems like a good one to start!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

My grandma Mina used to make a similar recipe... so many good memories. Wish she were here to taste my Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, even though I would have to explain what Thanksgiving is to her first :) Have a great holiday!

Beth said...

I love recipes that are that simple! It was actually refreshing to read about a recipe that isn't pumpkin-based this week. The pate looks like a perfect appetizer for a book group.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Mary Bergfeld said...

I would really enjoy this. Once we make it through the holidays I'll definitely be giving this a try. It sounds delicious.I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Anne said...

Now, this sounds like an appetizer made just for me-I love tuna and of course the mash potatoes.
I will be making this sometime soon.
Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Gina said...

I long wondered about those accents, figures Lizzy would know. Sounds like a perfect thing to curl up on the couch with and with an Italian cookbook, even better. So would Friday work for you for the kitchen overhaul and brioche delivery? Hoping you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

MMMMMMMMMM,...What a lovely paté!! What's NOT TO LOVE HERE?

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris said...

I love it precisely because it is so simple..Great recipe!

Catherine said...

Dear Claudia, Looks like a great appetizer.
Wishing you a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. Catherine xo

That Girl said...

I don't usually think of pate as Italian, but this looks lovely sliced wafer thin on water crackers.

Vibey @ Yumbo McGillicutty said...

Yes, yes, and YES. Perfect for the holidays. Cut 'n' come again, like The Magic Pudding!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Sounds fabulous with the homemade mayonnaise Claudia. I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

With reference to the accents, IF I can find the word with the accent somewhere on the web, I copy it into my document and the accent shows up when I put it on blogger. Hope that helps.

Reeni said...

I've never seen anything like it before! It makes me think of liver pate which I despise - this I would LOVE! Sitting all that time probably made it all the better.

Hutchinsons said...

Sorry I have been gone so long, but the fun of catching up is worth it! Just sitting here on a quiet Friday (no black for me) and enjoying your pictures and planning the next delicious recipe I will try. I guess I am thankful I didn't do this before Thanksgiving. I didn't have any more room on the table as it was!

As always, wonderful food with great photos!!

Sprigs of Rosemary said...

This sounds like it's right up my alley, too. Love tuna, potatoes and pate, too. Never thought about all three together. I only have one Mary Ann Esposito cookbook. Sounds like I need more!

sare said...

Hi, I haven't done pate before. I'm sure ıt was delicious. I'd prefer tuna intense than potato. Thank you for your warning.
I like your photos on your blog and recipes.
See you.

Jill Colonna said...

Claudia, there is nothing wrong with good old, humble, tasty food! Looks delicious. The fact you can make it in advance is precious, too - especially during the festive period.

Sandra said...

This sounds perfect! I love the flavor of this pate, and I do love your presentation!!!! Nice job!

Fresh Local and Best said...

This reminds me of the sardine pates that is offered in the South of France. What a wonderful addition this made to the holiday table.

Anonymous said...

A yummy and unique appetizer, nice!

Island Vittles said...

What an amazing appetizer from canned tuna! looks fantastic. Theresa