Tuna Loaf With Lemon-Parsley Dressing

April 21, 2020 Updated: April 21, 2020

During the winter months, my mum makes a savory potato pie, layered with cheese and prosciutto, once a week. Come late April, though, she abandons the potato pie for a more summery tuna loaf, made with canned tuna, capers, breadcrumbs, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano, once again ingredients that she would always keep in her pantry.

This tuna loaf keeps us company through the good season, neatly arranged onto a nice plate during family dinners in our garden, served with fresh salads and homemade mayonnaise, or sliced and stuffed into a sandwich for impromptu trips to the seaside.

Make it in advance, so it will be easier to slice, and serve it with this lemony olive oil and parsley dressing. Or, try it with mayonnaise, mustard, tzatziki, or guacamole, according to your preferences and what you have on hand.

Serves 4

For the tuna loaf:

  • 2 (5-ounce) cans good-quality tuna (preferably packed in olive oil), well-drained
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

For the lemon-parsley dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste

Add the drained tuna and rinsed capers to the bowl of a food processor. Process them until just combined, but not to the point of a purée.

Scrape the tuna and caper mixture into a large bowl, then add the beaten eggs, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and breadcrumbs. Mix everything with a fork until homogeneous. 

Use your hands to shape the mixture into a thick loaf, about 2 inches in diameter, then wrap it in a piece of cheesecloth or thin, clean dish towel and tie off the ends with kitchen twine.

Bring a pot of unsalted water to a boil, add the tuna loaf, and cook for about 20 minutes.

Remove the tuna loaf from the pot and let it cool down completely before unwrapping and slicing.

In the meantime, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, mix together the extra virgin olive oil with the chopped parsley and the lemon juice. Salt to taste.

Serve the tuna loaf with the parsley dressing.