lf I could write anything that reflects an understanding of Malta and all its flavors, it would be tuna ftira with crushed tomato, olive oil, salt and pepper. This version is made with tomato paste, but crushed tomato and bread with olive oil, salt and pepper is quintessential every Maltese’s childhood – no more, no less.
Maltese ftira 1 (or a large ciabatta)
extra virgin olive oil before drizzle
good quality tomato paste 1 tbsp
canned tuna 150 g, drained
shallot 1, finely chopped
chopped parsley 1 tbsp
capers a handfull
pitted olives 10, minced meat
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
pickled vegetables kimchi, sauerkraut or pickles, to serve
Cut the bread in half horizontally. Drizzle the cut sides with plenty of olive oil, spread with the tomato paste, season and pat together.
Place the tuna and some olive oil in a mixing bowl. Add the shallot to the bowl along with the chopped parsley, capers and olives. Mix well and taste before seasoning. If it is dry, add more olive oil.
Spoon the tuna mixture onto one of the ftira halves, cover with the other half and cut in the middle. Serve with pickled vegetables.
Adapted from Salt Butter Bones by Nicole Pisani (Orion, £25)