Tuna spread (tuna pâté)

It’s been a year since the first episode of Italian Table Talk, the project on Italian cuisine that I proudly share with my friends Giulia, Valeria, and Emiko: isn’t it incredible?
I’m awfully inconstant, so for me, a commitment of a year is a big deal, in terms of dedication to a project: I usually grow tired of everything quickly, but this time – thanks to the interesting topics and the involvement of my friends – 12 episodes of Italian Table Talk happened so effortlessly that I almost didn’t notice.

Tuna spread (tuna pâté)

The first year of Italian Table Talk deserves a bit of celebration: that’s why celebrations are, in fact, the topic of our Table Talk for June.
From the minute we chose the monthly theme, I had no doubt about the festive recipe I wanted to share with you: when I was a child I would ask my mum for only one specific recipe for birthdays, Christmas, New Year, etc.: her famous tuna spread, or as we call it in Italian and French, tuna pâté!

Tuna spread (tuna pâté)

My whole family, both the Italian and the North African side, loves tuna. We are aware of the fact that tuna is an endangered fish and should be consumed sparingly, but honestly, we wouldn’t know how to survive without it. I try to diversify and use other fishes – my parents, for example, have grown fond of mackerel as an alternative – but tuna has a special spot in my heart.
My mother uses canned tuna to make tuna spread for my birthday and for most Catholic holidays, but she also uses it to cook hraimi, the spicy fish that opens all the important dinners on Shabbat and Jewish holidays: without tuna, we wouldn’t know how to properly celebrate any special occasion!

Before I continue with the recipe, however, let me share with you the joy of 12 months of Italian Table Talks on these pages: let’s take a good look back at them.

May ’12 – Bread > Shalut
June ’12 – Street food > Coffee granita
August ’12 – Preserves > Pickles
September ’12 – Grape harvest> Schiacciata with grapes
October ’12 – All Saints’ Day > Pan dei morti
November ’12 – Olive oil > Olive oil crostata
December ’12 – Christmas > Mandelbrodt biscotti
January ’13 – Salumi > Kosher pasta amatriciana
February ’13 – Carnival > Chiacchiere alla giudia for Purim
March ’13 – Easter > Mimuna bread
April ’13 – Foraging > Pasta with fresh wild fennel
May ’13 – Breakfast > Margherita Cake
June ’13 – Celebrations > Tuna Spread

Now, let’s get straight to my mum’s precious recipe for tuna spread (or pâté). Before we start, please note that this is a super wholesome, old-style, traditional Italian tuna spread, so it doesn’t contain any store-bought, processed ingredients like mayo. All it takes to prepare it is tuna (of course!), potatoes, egg yolks, butter and lemons – it’s both delicious and good for you!

Tuna spread (tuna pâté)

Paté di tonno - Tuna spread (tuna pâté)

Tuna spread (tuna pâté)

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Antipasto
Cuisine Italiana
Servings 4


  • 1 big boiled potato
  • 50 g butter, at room temperature *
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 500 g canned tuna
  • 2 egg yolks, boiled
  • 1 handful of capers facoltativi
  • salt to taste


  • In the food processor, mash boiled potatoes and egg yolks.
    1 big boiled potato, 2 egg yolks, boiled
  • Add to the food processor also tuna, butter, lemon juice, and capers, to obtain a thick spread. You can substitute butter with a little bit of olive oil to make the recipe pareve.
    50 g butter, at room temperature, juice of 2 lemons, 500 g canned tuna, 1 handful of capers
  • Add salt to taste, then roll the spread inside a clean kitchen towel.
    salt to taste
  • Place the spread in the fridge and let it rest there for a couple of hours.
  • Serve the fish pâté cold and decorate it with capers and lemon slices.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Tuna spread (tuna pâté)

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