When my sister gave me the book A Homemade Life by Mollly Wizenberg for Christmas, I could not wait to begin reading it. The book combines the true story of the author’s life with some of her favorite recipes and I was eager to try them all.
One of the first recipes I tried was Bouchons Au Thon, a savory tuna quiche-like creation mentioned on page 101. Not being a huge tuna fan, the recipe did not quite hit the mark for me, but I liked the idea of savory crustless quiches for snacks for easy entertainment so I began tinkering with the recipe and remade it using canned chicken rather than tuna. The substitution worked so well that I tried a few other canned meats including ham, salmon, roast beef and corned beef and found that just about any canned meat has the necessary texture for making these little treats. These quiche-like snacks are a hit with my family and they are great as an hors d’oeuvre when entertaining.
The recipe in A Homemade Life recommends baking the bouchons in standard-sized muffin tins. I found that when entertaining, mini muffin tins are a bit better. The bouchons will of course be smaller, but when entertaining a crowd, that is preferable. Another suggestion is to substitute creme fraiche with equal parts sour cream and heavy cream. It is not quite the same, but it works in a pinch. I tend to double the recipe as these little treats are great when refrigerated and reheated. If there are leftovers, store them in an airtight container. They will last several days in the refrigerator and heat up easily in the oven or microwave.
Below is a word-for-word excerpt from A Homemade Life describing how to make the bouchons.
Bouchons Au Thon
One 6-ounce can tuna packed in water, drained well
1 cup lightly packed finely shredded Gruyere cheese
3/4 cup creme fraiche
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
Set an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease 8 cups of a standard-sized muffin tin, and set aside.
Put tuna in a medium bowl, and use a fork, mashing and poking, to break it up into small pieces. There should be no chunks larger than a dime. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well with the fork, mashing a bit as you go, until the mixture is thoroughly combined. It will be a soft orange-pink color.
Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bouchons look set on top and around the edges. Transfer the tin to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully run a small, thin knife around the edge of each bouchon to make sure it isn’t stuck, then carefully remove them from the tin. They will collapse a bit as they cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 8 bouchons, enough for 4 light eaters
Wizenberg, Molly. A Homemade Life: stories and recipes from my kitchen table. New York: Simon & Shuster, 2009