Bouchons au Thon (“Tuna Corks”) with Green Salad

by Kristin on August 13, 2010

What is it with kids and ketchup? When my sister was a kid, she would put ketchup on just about everything, including fish sticks, which I used to think was particularly weird. The only time I ever eat ketchup is with fries, and even then only just a little and begrudgingly (I’m a salt and vinegar kind of girl). At a dinner party I was at a few years ago, one of the women there was telling a story of how her eight-year-old nephew had even given up ketchup for Lent, the point being that he loved ketchup so much, this was a real sacrifice. There isn’t any ketchup in these bouchons au thon (which roughly translates as “tuna stoppers” or “tuna corks”) but there is tomato paste, which is what gives them their burnt orange color. The first time I made this, I thought the combination of ingredients sounded odd, but it works; they’re like little quiches without a crust. And taking a cue from my kid sister all those years ago, if I serve these with some ketchup squeezed on top, then sure enough, my kids gobble them up. It’s a nice light dinner or lunch served with a green salad with a lemon vinaigrette, or lemon roast potatoes or herbed new potatoes if you want something more filling (or Molly Wizenberg suggests a baguette). If your kids like tuna, then these are handy for lunchboxes too.

Bouchons au Thon
adapted from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg (or via Orangette here)

Serves 4 as a light dinner or lunch

2 x 4 oz (120 g) cans of tuna chunks (preferably water-packed), drained well
1 cup (100 g) finely grated Gruyère cheese (Fontina, Swiss/Emmental or Parmesan are all good substitutes)
1/3 cup (80 ml) crème fraîche
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 scallions, finely chopped
2 or 3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Lightly grease 8 wells of a standard-size muffin tin.

Place the tuna in a mixing bowl and break up into small pieces. Add the cheese, crème fraîche, tomato paste, eggs, onion, parsley and salt, stirring to thoroughly combine. Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 muffin wells. Use water to fill any empty wells halfway full to prevent them from scorching. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops and edges of the bouchons are set.

Carefully pour the water out of the muffin wells, then dislodge the bouchons by running a butter knife around the inside edges of their wells. Let them sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then carefully extract them and transfer to individual plates (2 for each portion). They will collapse a bit as they cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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