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The tuna loaf of my summers

Now it happens years before, but I had my first holidays alone with my friends when I was 19, with Simona, Federica and Margherita, we stayed at Simona’s grandmother in Bibione, on the Venetian seaside. We lived the sea life that we used to make with our families when we were little children, despite it being our first holiday as grown up girls. We would wake up early, go to the beach, come back home for lunch stopping by at the market to buy some food, spend the afternoon in a fresh place reading a book, then back to the beach, then off to dinner, a walk in Bibione for an ice cream and some music in the street.

The tuna loaf

It was a wonderful holiday: I remember perfectly the huge red berry ice cream we had for dinner the first night in Bibione, the sun burn behind my knees because of the first scorching sun after the high school final exam, our shifts to wash the dishes and the tuna loaf. My cousin Margherita and I made the tuna loaf following a step by step recipe learnt during a phone call with my mum. From that moment on, for me, the tuna loaf is one of the recipes of my summers.

You will notice that there is no salt in the ingredient list: this is because the tuna and the Parmigiano cheese are already very tasty, so you don’t need to add extra salt.

Tuna loaf

How to serve it?

The easiest way is to make a citronette, which is nothing but a cool way to call an emulsion of extra virgin olive oil, salt and lemon, whipped with a fork until the sauce becomes creamy, smooth and thick. You can also add finely chopped parsley. A light mayonnaise, stirred with a dollop of plain yogurt, or a tablespoon of organic mustard are just as good.


Tuna loaf

The tuna loaf is one of my family's summer dishes. Serve it with an olive oil, lemon juice and parsely dressings, or with good mayonnaise and mustard.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people


For the tuna loaf

  • 250 g canned tuna, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoons capers, rinsed

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
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  • Drain the tuna from the cans and add it into a food processor, along with the rinsed capers. Process them partially until combined, not as much as to obtain a purée.
  • Scrape the tuna and caper mixture into bowl, then add the beaten eggs, the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and the breadcrumbs. Mix everything with a work until homogeneous.
  • Shape the tuna loaf with your hands to make a kind of thick sausage, then close it in a towel or a cheesecloth, assuring the ends with a kitchen string.
  • Cook it in boiling unsalted water for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the tuna loaf from the water and let it cool down completely before slicing it.
  • In the meantime, prepare the dressing for the tuna loaf. In a little bowl mix the extra virgin olive oil with the chopped parsley and the lemon juice. Salt to taste.
  • Serve the tuna loaf with the parsley dressing, or with mayonnaise and mustard.
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More recipes with canned tuna from the blog archive

  • Pasta with tuna sauce. This is one of her Sunday dressings for pasta, something I prepare now as a weekly meal. Your favourite pasta – I like short ones with a hole to collect the sauce, like penne or tortiglioni – a can of good quality tuna, a can of tomato sauce – my favourite brands? Petti and Mutti –a white onion, the heat of a chili pepper, and obviously extra virgin olive oil and salt. I am sure these are all basic ingredients you keep in your pantry, so why don’t you give it a go?
  • Tuna and breadcrumb stuffed zucchini. My grandma’s stuffed zucchini, with tuna, pecorino and breadcrumbs, a main course for the good season.
  • Pasta with tuna, parsley, basil and capers. This is one of my favourite summer dishes, pasta with tuna, parsley, basil and capers. Nothing particularly refined, but so simple, immediate and fresh. While the pasta water boils just finely chop fresh basil and fresh parsley and a good handful of capers, then add good quality canned tuna and finish with a generous drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil. It tastes like summer, holidays, lazy afternoons spent reading your favourite book in the shade of an old tree, midnight swim and cicadas concerts.


Tuna loaf

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