Here is Wizenberg's ingredient list for bouchons au thon:
180 grams canned tuna in water
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
3 large eggs
1 cup finely grated gruyère cheese
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup minced onion
I would love to try Wizenberg's recipe; I am sure it would be lovely. I adapted her recipe to reflect my cheap pantry and my sensibilities. I think her dish is more quiche-like than mine but I still enjoyed my dish very much. The texture was very light and the tuna was nicely subdued. This time, instead of simply listing the changes I made to a recipe, I decided to include the reasoning behind my decisions.
- 180 grams canned tuna in water: Alright! A recipe for canned tuna! How do I get 180 grams of tuna when a regular can is around 140 grams? I'll just use one can and call it good.
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste: Tomato paste and tuna? I am intrigued, this could be really yummy or really weird. 3 tablespoons sounds like a lot. My solution is to use about one and one-half tablespoons of tomato paste since I am using a smaller amount of tuna. If I do this, I can get four to five batches of bouchons au thon from one can of tomato paste, costing me just $0.12-$0.15 a serving.
- Crème fraîche: I wish. I have only been able to purchase crème fraîche in the town I live in since October when the Market of Choice opened. I have never even tasted crème fraîche. I could use the same amount of yogurt if I had some in my fridge. Well, I think we're going along a quiche route so I will use a little milk, instead.
- 3 large eggs: How about I use two and then I can still have scrambled eggs for breakfast?
- Gruyère: Wouldn't that be nice! When was the last time I had gruyère? I would guess the last time Market of Choice sampled gruyère. Thank you Fred Meyer for having Tillamook shredded cheese on sale last week!
- Flat-leaf parsley: Mmm...fresh grassy parsley with canned tuna sounds like a great idea. I want some parsley! When I thought of this, I replayed a conversation Z. and I have almost every day:
Z: Of course you do. Whatever it is, you don't need it.
A: Of course I do! It's to make my dinner.
Z: Yeah, I want a tall, un-weird girlfriend with a real job but I don't have that. What's our motto?
A: Cheap grown-ups don't always get to buy whatever they want.
Z: And what do you have to show for this?
A: Health insurance and a retirement account funded by part-time work and a wonderful boyfriend who took me on vacation to the east coast for his birthday because he is really good at not spending money.
Z: How is this possible?
A: I save my money by not spending it.
Z: ...Who's the smarter person?
[Insert bantering and teasing here.]
adapted from Molly Wizenberg
1 can tuna, drained
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup shredded cheese
Salt and pepper
chopped flat-leaf parsley or 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup (or less according to taste) finely diced onion
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. If using a 12-cup muffin tin, spray 8 wells with non-stick cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, use a fork to break up drained tuna into as small pieces as possible. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin tin, about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons for 8 wells and 2 tablespoons for 6 wells. Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm and golden. May take 30 minutes if using 6 six wells of the muffin tin. Enjoy!
P.S. With the leftover tomato paste, I portioned it onto squares of plastic wrap. I then wrapped the paste like a burrito, placed it into a ziploc to keep them all in once place, and tossed the package into the freezer.