Tuesday 21 May 2019

Tuna Ftira - a sandwich with the moreish flavours of Malta


Chef Nicole Pisani

Nicole Pisani

Chef Nicole Pisani gave up her job at Nopi to make school dinners, and in her new book, she eulogises the moreish flavours of her childhood in Malta, where her family still run restaurants in Sliema

Tuna Ftira


Serves 2


1 Maltese ftira (or a large ciabatta)

Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1 tbsp good quality tomato purée

150g tinned tuna, drained

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tbsp chopped parsley

A handful of capers

10 pitted olives, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


To make one large jar, approximately 1l of Giardiniera: 1 small cauliflower, broken into florets

1 fennel bulb, sliced

6 baby carrots

2 celery sticks, halved lengthways and chopped into 2-inch batons

Plenty of sea salt

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 or 2 bay leaves

500ml apple cider vinegar


1. Cut the bread in half horizontally. Drizzle the cut sides with lots of olive oil, spread with the tomato purée, season and pat together.

2. .In a mixing bowl, put the tuna and some olive oil. Add the shallot to the bowl along with the chopped parsley, capers and olives. Mix well and taste before seasoning. If dry, add more olive oil.

3. Spoon the tuna mix onto one of the ftira halves, top with the other half and slice down the centre. Serve with a side of Giardiniera.

4.To make the Giardiniera, lay the vegetables in a shallow dish with plenty of salt, cover and leave overnight at room temperature. The next day you will find some liquid has been released from the vegetables. Drain and rinse the vegetables well, then pat dry with kitchen paper and leave to dry over the next couple of hours before tossing in the extra virgin olive oil. Pack the vegetables into a sterilised, airtight jar along with the bay leaves. Heat the apple cider vinegar in a pan until just boiling, take off the heat and pour into the jar until just covering the vegetables. Allow to cool before sealing. Keep in a cool place - it will last for a month and continue to pickle during that time, so the vegetables will become increasingly sour on first bite!

Extracted from Salt Butter Bones by by Nicole Pisani, published by Orion at £25. Photography by Regula Ysewijn. Food styling by Nicole

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