This was so last minute. I was out with some friends watching the first game of the World Cup in Brazil; I am infamously known for my disinterest in football, the only other time I pay it any attention is the Olympics…and then only if it happens to be on. So in the closing moments of the game, seeing that Croatia was going to have a hard time catching up with Brazil (3:1), I invited a friend to lunch.
Come Friday after work, I strolled home having spent the last hour roaming the streets of Islington, clearing my mind from a frustrating week of work. As I was about to settle in for the night it hit me: you forgot about lunch. I quickly scrambled down stairs and rummaged through the few ingredients that I had: tuna…potato…onions. On top of that I couldn’t recall whether or not she ate fish. Never mind I had to fix up something. The story of how these Tuna Balls were formed. Not everyone is a huge fan of tuna, and besides the regular pasta bake or salad, it doesn’t turn up in too many other dishes from what I’ve seen.
So here the sweet ‘n’ smokiness of the Paprika and Peppadew peppers gives the fish balls some well needed bite, as otherwise tuna is pretty bland. You end up with a salmon pink mash which I added petit pois peas to; you can add raw chopped fresh spring onions instead if you wish. The crumb is straight from the packet, which meant the cooking time was cut tremendously.
In the end my friend couldn’t make the dinner as she’d injured her leg, but I was able to share the dish with some other friends who really liked them. Try serving the fish balls with steamed vegetables and your favourite sauce.
Smokin' Tuna Balls
2 cans of Tuna – flaked (olive oil based)
2-3 medium red skin potatoes
1/2 medium onion – grated
1 tbsp garlic paste (or 1 large garlic cloves, crushed)
1/4 cup Peti Pois Peas or chopped spring onions
1 tsp Tomato Paste
1/4 tsp of Smoked Paprika Powder
1/2 vegetable stock cube, dissolved
1 tsp chopped Scotch Bonnet Pepper
1 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
1/2 tsp black pepper
170g Sage and Onion Stuffing
Dash of Maggi Seasoning
1 tsp butter
1/4 cup milk
Oil (to fry)
1. Drain the Tuna and flake
2. Peel and cut potatoes into large cubes. Boil in salted water for 15-20mins until soft. Once cooked drain the potatoes and add milk and butter. Mash potatoes until smooth.
3. Gently fry the onions, garlic, Peppadew peppers and thyme. Transfer the mix to a blender with a little water and blend until smooth.
4. Add the peppers to the potato with all the remaining ingredients (except the stuffing and onions or peas).
5. Allow the mixture to cool before adding the onions or peas.
6. Transfer to a container and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
7. Prepare two bowls: one with the stuffing mix the other with the whisked egg. You may wish to crush the stuffing mix further.
8. Take a saucepan and fill 3/4 with vegetable oil. Place oil under a medium heat. Test the oil for heat before frying.
9. With ideally an ice cream scoop, scoop one portion of the mixture into a ball, roll the ball into whisked egg and then transfer to the breadcrumbs. Make sure your hands are dry when you roll the tuna ball into the breadcrumbs to achieve even coverage.
10. Place carefully into the oil and turn gently after 10 seconds. Remove from oil onto a kitchen towel when the tuna balls have fried to the desired colour. Transfer to a warm oven until completed.