Braciole di Tonne (Tuna Fritters in Tomato-Lemon Sauce)

photo taken by Aelle, on July 24, 2005, CC licensing

Adapted from Cucina Ebraica by Roberta Anau and Elena Loewenthal

Italian-Jewish cooks often combine vegetables with fish or meat in inventive ways. In this version, tender, young chard, shredded raw and mixed with canned tuna, makes for a delightful prepare-ahead fish course for the fall holidays.
But keep it in mind for your year-round repertoire as well.

Yield: Six servings


For the sauce:
1 pound (500 grams) ripe, red tomatoes (about 1 ½ cups, peeled, seeded, and chopped) or an equal amount of canned plum tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of hot red pepper flakes
juice of 2 lemons

  • For the fritters:
  • 13 to 14 ounces (400 grams) Italian-style canned tuna, packed in olive oil
  • About ¾ pound (300 grams) tender, young, green Swiss chard leaves, washed, patted dry, and cut away from the stems
  • 3 handfuls Italian parsley leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • extra-virgin olive oil for frying
  • mint or chive leaves for garnish

Prepare the sauce: combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and red pepper in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Whisk with an immersion blender (or puree in a food processor or blender) until smooth. If necessary, add a little water.
Let cool, then stir in the lemon juice. Pour the sauce into a deep serving platter.
Make the fritters: drain the tuna of its oil and place in a food processor. Coarsely chop the chard and parsley and add to food processor, along with the flour, eggs, garlic, and pepper. Process, using on and off turns, until mixture is smooth.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Drop the batter by spoonfuls into the hot oil, flattening with a spatula. Regulating the heat carefully, fry until golden brown, then turn, using a spatula. Remove when golden on the other side and drain on paper towels.
Let the fritters cool, then place them, gently overlapping, in the tomato sauce. Place the platter in the refrigerator and let chill for a few hours.

Before serving, decorate with the mint or chives.

Sephardic or Askhenazi