May 26, 2009

Tunisian tuna brik

Our short day in Tunisia late last year wasn't enough to fully experience it's rich culture but it gave us a memorable view of the way of life that makes this part of the world unique and worth visiting. Since we were with a tour group, we only had a little sampling of their traditional foods, known to be flavored with aromatic spices of this North African country. Our visit to Tunisia inspired me to try a tuna filled version of the classic brik, a snack made with a thin pastry like phyllo with a savory filling and egg. The traditional brik is made with a whole egg cracked into the pastry before rolling and frying, resulting in a soft-boiled egg inside. For my version here, I mixed the egg and the filling together and baked them instead of frying.


(recipe adapted from The Book of North African Cooking by Lesley Mackley)

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can tuna in oil, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
phyllo sheets, cut into narrow rectangular pieces
2 large eggs
lemon wedges for garnish

Heat the oil in a skillet. Cook the onion and garlic gently for 10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool. Add the tuna, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper to the onion and mix well. Cut the phyllo sheets lengthwise to make long rectangular pieces. Brush the sheets with butter or olive oil. Spoon a small amount of tuna filling on one end of the phyllo sheet. Roll or fold into a triangle then keep folding and rolling to reach the other end. The technique is like folding a flag. I found this demo video on you tube showing this folding technique. Set the tuna traingles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush the tuna triangles with melted butter. Pan fry or bake them in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and filling is set. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve hot with remoulade or yogurt dip and some salad greens.

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