Tuna Spread with Capers has been a staple at our home for years. I first came across the recipe when leafing through Marcella Hazan’s cookbook Marcella’s Italian Kitchen, an autographed copy given to me by a treasured friend. Marcella & Victor Hazan lived in the Cannereggio district of Venice for years and Tuna Spread with Capers reflected the tastes and custom of the Venetian locals. The versatile spread could not be easier, consisting of three main ingredients; imported Italian tuna, butter and capers. Tuna Spread with Capers with your choice of bread is delightful with a late afternoon glass of sparkling Italian wine.
Traditionally, this would be served on soft white bread with the crusts removed and cut into triangular shapes. The elegant triangular sandwiches are known as Tramezzino and served at bars to be accompanied with an aperitivo.
A search on the internet will reveal many variations on this theme, often including other ingredients to the Tuna Spread. Frankly, a high quality tuna, rich European butter and briny capers packed in salt are all that is needed.
Tuna Spread with Capers or Tonno sott’Olio Mantecato can be prepared a day or two before serving, tightly covered and refrigerated. It should be removed from the refrigerator 45 minutes before serving or preparing Tramezzino.
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- 2 - 6½ ounce cans of imported Italian Tuna packed in olive oil and well drained
- 3 Tbs. of capers packed in salt if available, well rinsed and dry
- 8 Tbs. European unsalted butter at room temperature
- ½ tsp. of capers packed in salt if available, well rinsed and dry for garnish
- Place the tuna, 3 tablespoons of capers and unsalted butter in the work bowl of a food processor and process until a uniform paste has been formed. This will required stopping and scraping down the work bowl a number of times.
- Place the Tuna Spread in a bowl or ramekin to just accommodate the mixture. With the back of a teaspoon smooth out the surface and if you like create a bit of a design. Top the spread with the remaining capers, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- The spread should be removed from the refrigerator 45 minutes prior to serving to soften. I can be served with sliced Italian bread, toasted bread or made into Venetian sandwiches. This is the perfect accompaniment to a late afternoon glass of Prosecco, TrentoDOC or a Spritz.