We recently helped form a book club with a small group of girls who share a common love of food. This shared interest inspired a food-themed club, which is actually a rather general category of literature. Our second meeting revolved around a book by blogger-turned-author Molly Wizenberg of Orangette. The book, titled A Homemade Life, is a fantastic mixture of a memoir and a cookbook- with each recipe attached to a poignant short story.
Our book club decided to host a potluck as part of our get-together, so I sifted through the baked goods and salads for something a little more hearty. I settled on a simple but completely unique recipe for Bouchons Au Thon- or as the author interprets this- tuna muffins.
Based on a light dinner recipe from Ms. Wizenberg's Parisian study-abroad host mother, the idea of a fishy muffin is... weird, and slightly gross. However, a second glimpse through the ingredient list convinced me to give it a go. These really aren't muffins at all (no flour or sugar), but an egg, tuna and cheese mixture- "tuna quiche" might be a more appropriate translation.
The instructions couldn't be more basic- simply mix together a handful of ingredients and bake. The opening of a can of white albacore had our tuna monster pestering me for the leftover liquids.
|She's just fluffy, not fat!|
The recipe also calls for a second type of dairy- creme fraiche. I am embarassed to say I don't think I've ever purchased this cream cheese-butter-sour cream combo before. It has a fantastic texture similar to cream cheese icing with a rich, tangy flavor.
The combination of each of the ingredients into a bowl resulted in a slimy pile of unappetizing pink mush. Unfortunately, I made these mere hours before our potluck dinner, so there was no turning back.
Using a generous amount of butter, I greased the heck out of 8 compartments of my muffin tin- it's known to encourage some serious stickage.
The recipe calls for baking at 325 for 20-25 minutes, but our oven runs cool so ours required 25 minutes at 340. I then turned the heat off and let them sit in the oven for five additional minutes until I thought they looked completely set across the top. Thankfully after baking they take on more of an orange-y brown color- a little like a corn muffin.
I was extra nervous about pulling them out of the tin, but a sharp knife tip around the edge and a large dinner spoon brought them all out in a single piece. Cooling on a rack for about an hour allowed them to firm up even more.
I am pleased to say that these tuna cakes (there were a few crab cake comparisons) were a big hit! Although I'm sure everyone had some initial hesitation, the flavors of the tuna, tomato paste, and cheese combine in a seriously savory way. The egg provides a custard-like texture which held its shape relatively well. Baking these in a muffin tin keeps the portion size small- they would serve well crumbled over a salad or as a (high protein!) snack.
We got to sample several other dishes from the book, including a comforting vegetable soup, a fun arugula salad (with chocolate!), and a zucchini pesto pasta.
|Zucchini pesto pasta.|
|Lemon-blueberry yogurt cake.|
|Salted chocolate cookies.|