Almost immediately upon returning to Seattle from my 4-month stint in Los Angeles, I invited eighteen of my closest friends over for an impromptu tapas party. The instructions were to bring something to “nibble or sip within the tapas theme”.
About 20 minutes before everyone arrived I looked at the platter of Jamon and Manchego Toasts, Smoked Trout Mousse, a big green salad and this Spanish Tuna Salad on Endive… “I don’t think we have enough food!” This is every caterers last thought (i.e. worst nightmare) before guests arrive. How much food do eighteen people eat? Eeek!
Then people began walking through the door, arms filled with Spanish inspired appetizer plates, baguettes, fresh veggies, good dips and bottles of wine. This was going to be a nice evening.
Foodie note: I’m not even a tuna salad fan, but for some reason this recipe looked good. That said, we changed a few things, per usual. The recipe calls for piquillo peppers, but if you don’t want to spend the money or can’t find them, substitute roasted red peppers. One thing you CANNOT live without in this recipe is the smoked paprika. I recommend buying it out of bulk (available at nicer grocery stores or spice shops) because it’s less expensive and you only need a little. Finally, buy the tuna in olive oil, not water. The flavor is richer and it smells less like cat food.
Recipe adapted from La Tienda, the Best of Spain.
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer
2 cans oil soaked tuna, drained of liquid
1/4 cup mayonaise
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar + more to taste
8 piquillo peppers or 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
4 stems endive spears
1) In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix mayo, paprika, sherry vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper.
2) Add tuna, peppers, parsley and capers, mix gently to preserve the texture of the tuna. Taste, add more vinegar, salt and or pepper if you prefer. Set aside in the refrigerator.
3) Slice bottom of endive spear to release the outer leaves; continue snipping the bottom to release inner leaves. Arrange in a serving bowl.
4) To serve, drizzle tuna salad with good olive oil, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve next to endive spears. Enjoy immediately alongside toasted bread and good friends.