This Oregano Tuna Mousse has been a regular in my hors d’ oeuvre rotation for years. Actually, I can remember the very first time I made it was sometime in about 1996, to serve before a cassoulet dinner a dear friend had painstakingly slaved over for days. I can’t count the many times I’ve made it since.
Last week I was working on recipes to pair with all the wines we send to our Wine Club members – a project I undertake three times each year, figuring out unique recipes that match perfectly with about a dozen wines. (It’s a rather entertaining process and you can read more about it here.)
I had stumbled across a shrimp pâté recipe I wanted to try and was hoping it would work with our Love, Oregon Chardonnay. In the midst of making the pâté I could tell it wasn’t going to work with that wine (it had Sherry in it, what was I thinking? Sherry was the kiss of death for the chardonnay) but suddenly it dawned on me “I should be making the Tuna Mousse! – It’s got butter in it!” Rule of thumb: butter and chardonnay tend to make a very friendly pairing.
After I finished the shrimp pâté – which was delicious, by the way, and actually worked quite nicely with our Pinot Noir Rosé, I switched gears and pulled out the recipe for the tuna dish. Quite literally five minutes later – okay maybe ten, because I had to hunt in my pantry a bit for the tuna – I had it whipped up and resting in the fridge.
The recipe is in an old Patricia Wells book called Trattoria (which may be the only book she’s done that focuses on Italian food). It’s so simple and quick to throw together. If you have a well-stocked pantry you likely have these items on hand. If not, they’re very easy to find at your grocery store. Though, like most recipes that are simple and have a short list of ingredients, the quality of ingredients makes all the difference to the end result (read: good quality butter and Italian tuna packed in olive oil are everything here). The mousse is easily paired with simple crackers or crisp vegetables. I particularly like it with celery and cucumber.
If you’re having friends over for dinner this weekend make it as an hors d’oeuvre. I think you’ll love it.
Lemon and Oregano Tuna Mousse
- 1 6 1/2 ounce can tuna in olive oil do not drain
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/2
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano good quality, make sure it's still green and not so old it's just brown
- 1 plump, very fresh garlic clove minced degerm if necessary
- Add the tuna and its oil to the bowl of a food processor. Zest the skin of the lemon, and it's juice, add both plus the butter, olive oil, oregano and garlic too. Process all until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning, you may want to add salt, pepper or more lemon juice. Refrigerate it for a couple of hours before serving, if you have time, to allow the flavors to come together. Serve it at room temperature with crunchy vegetables and/or crackers.