A few weeks ago, I finally read A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, written by the delightful Molly Wizenberg. Her book describes cooking with her Father as a child, dealing with his death and how her interest in cooking and food led her to Paris, a new life and a new love. Wizenberg writes the popular blog, Orangette, and is co-owner of Delancey restaurant in Seattle. A Homemade Life is dotted with recipes - several from her Parisian host-mother. One of the most intriguing recipes is Bouchon au Thon, which translates to Tuna Corks... as bouchon is French for cap, cork, plug, stopper, etc.
Bouchons au Thon - from Molly Wizenberg
These bouchons—a crustless tuna quiche of sorts, I suppose—are delicious warm or at room temperature, with a green salad and a good baguette.
180 grams canned tuna in water (preferably chunk light), drained (8 ounces)
3 Tbs tomato paste
5 Tbs crème fraîche
3 large eggs
1 cup finely grated gruyère cheese
2 Tbs finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
¼ cup minced onion
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and spray 8 wells of a muffin tin with cooking spray (unless, of course, you have a silicone muffin mold, in which case no greasing is necessary). [I've also baked the batter in a single 7-inch silicone cake mold, which essentially negates the name "bouchon" but makes for a nice variation.]
In a medium bowl, break up the tuna with a fork, smashing it to a rough paste. Add the tomato paste, crème fraîche, eggs, gruyère, a good pinch of salt, Italian parsley, and onion, and mix well. The batter should be relatively smooth.
Spoon the batter evenly into 8 wells of the muffin tin, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until set and golden around the edges. [If you choose to use a 7-inch mold as mentioned above, the baking time will be longer; bake until the batter looks set and does not jiggle.]
Serves 4 as a light meal with side dishes.
Everything went together very quickly. No strange ingredients. I think this recipe would be fun to play with too... maybe try green onions? A little dill? Sour cream or Greek yoghurt for the creme fraiche? Ms. Wizenberg does not mention adding the pepper in her recipe (though it is listed as an ingredient), but I put in several big turns from the mill and the salt is probably not necessary - especially if your tuna is in salted water... as the cheese is a bit salty. The little corks puffed-up and were so pretty! Smelled divine as well. Dang. This was dinner. I served the tuna corks over a bed of arugula that was drizzled with a little olive oil and a squirt of key lime (still from Gina & Steve's tree!). I can imagine these little quiche-type morsels would be lovely baked in mini-muffin pans as a pop-in-your-mouth appetizer - especially as they would be just as delicious at room temperature.
Until my next update, I remain, your fishy correspondent.