As we roll into the holiday season (can you believe it? didn’t we just put those decorations away?), I am always on the lookout for anything that is new, different and most importantly, easy. I know I am going to be at about one million holiday gatherings with cheese balls and spinach dip, and while I like a good cheese ball as much as the next girl, when the dinner is at my house I like to shake things up a little bit. This quick and festive appetizer does just that. Now fair warning…it does feature raw tuna, so it’s best served to a crowd of sushi lovers, or alongside something less adventurous (like maybe a nice cheese ball!). But if you and your guests are up for it, these little rolls are quick and delicious and very handsome. Here’s the drill.
Get yourself a nice piece of sushi-grade tuna. If you are lucky enough to live near the Fairway in Paramus, they have fantastic tuna, but really any fish store worth its salt carries it these days. You will also need some nice thin serrano ham or prosciutto, some tomatoes, a small red pepper, and some basil. At this time of year I like to use cherry tomatoes…unlike the full-size off-season tomatoes which are kind of bland and tasteless, cherry tomatoes seem to keep their flavor all year long. If you can’t find basil in your supermarket a little chopped parsley will work just fine.
Now, slice the tuna into nice even rectangles. Chop the tomatoes and pepper into little pieces and mix them up with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and the basil or parsley. Now for the assembly. Wrap each tuna slice in a piece of the ham or prosciutto, leaving a little overhang at the top. Stand the rolls up like little soldiers on whatever serving plate you are planning to use. Now take your teeniest spoon and ladle just a little of the tomato relish on top. That’s it – you’re done! These are best served right away for obvious (raw fish!) reasons, but if you need to hold them in the fridge for an hour or two they will be fine.
So there you go…either give them a try for a new and different Thanksgiving appetizer, or even better, make them for yourself for a light “day after Thanksgiving” supper. After all, there’s only so much turkey that one person can eat!
Tuna and Ham Rolls with Tomato Pepper Relish, adapted from Moore to Food
One tomato, seeded and finely chopped
One small red pepper, seeded and chopped
1/8 cup olive oil
6 basil leaves, cut into slivers
Coarse salt and pepper to taste
One small tuna steak, sushi-grade if possible
4 thin slices serrano ham or prosciutto
1. Combine all ingredients except tuna and ham in small bowl and mix well.
2. Cut tuna into twelve 1-2 inch rectangular pieces. Cut ham into twelve rectangular pieces as well, and wrap each piece of tuna with a piece of ham, leaving a little extra ham at the top (so you have room to add in a little bit of relish.
3. Stand the tuna ham rolls upright on a plate and spoon a little of the tomato relish on top. Serve at once.
Kate Morgan Jackson is an editor, photographer, and writer. Her cooking and photography blog, Framed Cooks, is a collection of recipes and pictures designed for the busy cook, and her posts have been featured on a variety of sites including Glamour, Saveur, The Pioneer Woman, Steamy Kitchen, The Kitchn and Design Crush. She is a natural light photographer who specializes in portraits of children, animals and of course food of all kinds. Kate is a long-time resident of New Jersey, currently residing with her husband, daughter and rescued redbone coonhound in Upper Saddle River.