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The Hirshon Maltese Tuna Sandwich - Ftira Biż-żejt u Tadam u l-Kunserva

The Hirshon Maltese Tuna Sandwich – Ħobż Biż-żejt u Tadam u l-Kunserva

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4 from 6 reviews

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • For the Maltese bread:
  • 120 grams starter
  • 300 grams water
  • 420 grams high-gluten bread flour
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. yeast
  • ***
  • For the kunserva (this makes a lot, but it keeps):
  • 13 1/4 pounds tomatoes, preferably heirlooms
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. rock salt + extra
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar + extra
  • ***
  • For the Maltese tuna spread:
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 28 oz. top-quality tuna – TFD strongly prefers Ortiz Bonito del Norte tuna for this recipe
  • 1 small purple onion, finely minced
  • 3 tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 small jar anchovies, TFD endorses only Ortiz brand
  • 8 Castelvetrano green olives, finely diced
  • Tabasco, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 5 basil leaves
  • Tarragon vinegar to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. capers
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato puree (more if needed)
  • ***
  • Garnish with with more olive oil, chopped parsley, more olives, jarred cannellini beans, thinly-sliced cuke, slices of barely hard-boiled egg, sheep milk ricotta and additional capers


  1. Maltese bread recipe from
  2. You have to have a starter….if you don’t, don’t worry, it’s really easy to make your own…
  3. All you need is a clean jar and some flour and water.
  4. Put a Tbsp. each of non-chlorinated water and flour in a clean jar and stir with a plastic spoon or chopstick which is what I use and cover. They say metal is not good…not sure why and I don’t ask questions. Store in a warm place away from direct sunlight.
  5. Do this every day…each morning, add another tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of flour, and stir and cover…for seven days…and on the eighth day, you’re ready to start on your first loaf!
  6. Now that you made the starter, don’t forget to feed it every day. Just add the previously-noted same amounts of water and flour and this can go on for years! If you need to go on holiday or just need a break from making bread, just store the starter in the fridge. When you’re ready to use again, take it out, feed it and use it at room temperature.
  7. In the bread machine pan, add the ingredients. Put everything in the bread machine on the dough cycle. When it’s done, take out the dough and let it rest for about five minutes. Divide into 3 equal parts.
  8. Take each part and flatten it a bit to about 8-10 inch rounds. Tear a hole in the middle. Cover and let it rest until double in size for about half an hour but it really all depends on how warm your kitchen is.
  9. Bake at 425 F for about 12-15 mins. Again, it depends on your oven, so keep an eye on it.
  10. Kunserva recipe from Facebook ‘The Maltese Cooking Recipes’ page:
  11. Wash and roughly chop about six kilos tomatoes; remove all seeds and as much liquid as possible; put in a large pan with half a cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp. rock salt and 2 Tbsp. sugar and cook for about 15 minutes, cool. Process the tomatoes, skin and all, then transfer to a blender and blend till smooth.
  12. Lightly grease a large oven-proof dish and pour in the tomato mix, sprinkle some more sugar and rock salt on top. Bake in a hot oven (250 degrees Celsius, 480 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 1 ½ hours or until the mixture thickens, is reduced by ½ and darkens in color.
  13. Store in a sterilized jar and top with some olive oil, rock salt and crushed black pepper. Keeps in fridge for 3-4 weeks.
  14. Maltese tuna spread recipe from
  15. For the Maltese tuna spread, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to desired consistency. If the color is too pale, add more tomato puree. If it is too runny, add some soft bread to absorb the moisture.
  16. For the sandwich: cut the ftira bread in half lengthwise, spread each side lavishly with the kunserva and drizzle with lots of olive oil. Add the tuna spread on top of each half and garnish as indicated. Serve open-faced and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Category: Recipes
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