Maltese Tuna Ftira

DSC_0662If you’re Maltese or have visited Malta, it’s very likely that you would have tried the Maltese Tuna Ftira  – a sandwich consisting of Maltese bread called Ftira, filled with all things Mediterranean. During my visits home to Malta, I always fit one in.

Now back in London, I was hoping to make myself another one just because it takes me back to my holiday mood. Most ingredients I could source pretty much anywhere, but one thing was certain – I wasn’t going to find any Maltese bread or Ftira. My mum solved that problem for me, by insisting on me packing a loaf on my way back.

Well, it wasn’t a bad idea at all, because the bread seems to be made for the filling, which needs to slightly soak into the bread. You also don’t want a loaf too thick, otherwise, it will be spilling out at your first bite and all you’ll taste is bread.

Another ingredient which I had to replace is kunserva, a tomato paste that is sweeter than the versions you find in the UK. I find it does make a difference to the overall flavour but you’re not going to radically change the flavour if you don’t have it.

Lastly, I like many others, like to add ġbejna – a variety of goat’s cheese we produce on the islands. This is also not something you can source in the UK but you can probably get away with a crumbly goat’s cheese or feta if you will.

DSC_0689

Makes: 4 sandwiches

Difficulty: Very Easy

Time: 10 minutes

*I N G R E D I E N T S*

  • 2 cans of tuna
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green olives
  • a handful of shredded mint
  • 4 sliced salad onions
  • 200g of goats cheese
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1/2 can corn
  • 3 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 gem lettuce

DSC_0697

*M E T H O D*

  1. Mix the tuna, olives, capers, salad onions, tomatoes, mint, cheese, cannellini beans and seasons with pepper.
  2. Slice your loaf in half and spread tomato paste generously. Add a drizzle of oil and continue to spread.
  3. Spread the mixture on one side of the bread and top with some lettuce.

DSC_0707

I’m a big fan of open-faced sandwiches because a) I love that you can make it up as you go and b) because it’s a great way to clean up the fridge (if you have a busy fridge like me).  Open-faced sandwiches are also ideal when you have guests because you simply have to prepare a few toppings in advance.

I have already posted a recipe for an open faced sandwich or Smørrebrød as the Danish call it. My recipe, which can be found via this link, was inspired by Scandinavian Kitchen’s Pickled herring and egg with beetroot Smørrebrød.

This time I made a variety of open-faced sandwiches based on what I had in the fridge, with the exception on the pickled herring itself, as that’s not something I would stock commonly. Also, I was out of my home-made pickled cucumbers but they do go really well with the salmon sandwich described below. For the pickled cucumbers recipe, check out the recipe for my patty-less shrimp burger.

And remember, do not be afraid to think of creative uses for leftovers as that is the point of a good Smørrebrød. For the purists (I suspect you may be Danish) – do forgive me for not including butter.

DSC_0565

Serves:  12 pieces

Time30 Minutes

Difficulty: Very Easy

***I N G R E D I E N T S***

  • 6 slices rye bread, sliced in half
  • 3 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced
  • 2 small radishes, sliced thinly
  • 4 slices of ham
  • 4 tsp of horseradish
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced and grilled
  • 4 slices of smoked salmon
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 avocado, seasoned with salt and pepper and mashed
  • 4 pieces of jarred pickled herring
  • 1 cooked betroot, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • bunch of salad cress (optional)
  • roe (optional)

DSC_0592

***M E T  H O D***

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C on grill. Brush a baking sheet lightly with olive oil. Lay the sliced bell pepper and allow the peppers to grill for 20 minutes.
  2. Prepare a pot with cold water. Add three eggs and hard boil them for 12 minutes.
  3.  Whilst the eggs cook, slice four slices of rye bread in hal to make 8 pieces and proceed to slice the radishes, and onion into thin slices.
  4. In a food processor combine the beetroot, mustard, sour cream and olive oil. Process until creamy and smooth.
  5. Once the eggs have been cooked, drain the boiling water and refill with cold water. Let cool so that you can peel and slice the eggs easily.
  6. Assemble the sandwiches in the following order. For the four ham sandwiches, spread horseradish on the rye bread, add a slice of grilled bell pepper and top with ham and sliced radish. For the four salmon sandwiches, spread the seasoned, mashed avocado on the rye bread and top with salmon, egg slices and capers. Add roe for that extra punch of flavour but it’s not necessary. For the four herring sandwiches, spread the beet mixture and top with a pickled herring, egg and sliced radish. Sprinkle all with salad cress.

DSC_0587

DSC_0572