Tuna Mousse by Priscilla Martel


If you, like me, got over-enthused on your first pandemic shopping trip to Costco, you’re sitting on a shelf full of tuna, too. We’ve recently discovered an intriguing use of it, thanks to the ingenuity of chef Priscilla Martel!

Among our pantry friendly favorites is this Tuna Mousse. It is creamy, salty, savory, and delectable. You whip it up in a few minutes in a food processor then slather it on crackers. I once consumed an entire can of tuna fish prepared this way.
One hundred percent credit for this recipe goes to David Shalleck, author of Mediterranean Summer. He published the recipe in his 2008 memoir about his culinary education cooking in Italy and Provence. The only change I made is to remove the small amount of heavy cream he uses to finish the mousse. It does make the mixture a little smoother. But we don’t usually have heavy cream on hand. I have used plain yogurt to good effect. You should let the mixture chill and firm, but it can be used as soon as it is made.
Ways to serve it? Spread on crackers, naturally. Thin crisp crackers seem to be the best choice. Spread on celery sticks or endive leaves. Looking to guild the lily? Spread the tuna mousse on toasted country bread then top with sliced tomatoes and roasted red peppers. The mousse enjoys the company of minced chives or capers too. And a grating of black pepper helps.

Tuna Mousse
Yield: Approximately 12 ounces

5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 6-ounce cans quality tuna packed in oil, drained
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 Tablespoons heavy cream or plain yogurt, preferable Greek, optional
Fresh ground black pepper

1. Cut the butter into thin slices then cube them. Let the butter sit and soften slightly without melting.
2. Place the drained tuna in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until the tuna is finely ground, for about 10 – 15 seconds.
3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse to grind up any pieces that remain. Pulse in the lemon juice, vinegar and soy sauce.
4. Add the butter to the tuna mixture a small amount at a time while pulsing. The butter should be incorporated quickly but not so fast that chunks of butter remain. Pulse until just blended. Processing for too long at this stage will melt the butter and ruin the mixture. Add the yogurt, if using. Pulse a few times to blend.
5. Season with black pepper as needed.
6. Spoon the mixture into one or several small ramekins. Cover and chill for a few hours before using. It will keep covered for 4 or 5 days in the refrigerator.