7.17.2011

Hobz biz-zejt: Traditional Maltese Recipe

I decided to introduce you to my culture today. My Maternal Grandparents were both born and raised in Malta, a small island south of Sicily. I grew up around Maltese food, and Hobz biz-zejt is the staple of Maltese cuisine. On Sunday, I made this for lunch for my very very Canadian husband. He is so Canadian, that his great-great grandparents (on both sides) were even born here. I love this because I get to introduce him to some fun dishes that he has never tried before! So here it is, the very simple hobz biz-zejt (literally translated: bread with oil).

Ingredients:
Bread - usually you are supposed to use crusty bread, called hobz or ftira in Maltese, however I usually only use soft bread
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - If you can, buy the good quality aka: expensive kind
Sea Salt & Fresh Black Pepper
Ripe Tomatoes
Canned Tuna in water
Capers

Directions:
Slice bread thickly (if needed)
Cut your tomatoes in half (before you cut them, roll the tomatoes gently on the counter to loosen the flesh)
Rub the bread with the cut side of the tomato, this should make the bread stained pink. When tomatoes are in season the colour is much more vibrant!
Put tomatoes aside, and pour some olive oil (not a lot!) into a separate dish. Season with salt and pepper, and gently brush the oil onto the bread. You don't need to drench the bread in oil, just a little bit will do.
Take some tuna (make sure its the tuna in water), and after draining it, divide the can amongst the bread slices. You can put as much tuna as desired.
Sprinkle some capers, and a bit of fresh ground black pepper to taste

*note: This is how my family has always made hobz biz-zejt. I am sure there are plenty of other ways that Maltese people have made it. You can add cut up artichoke hearts, muffaletta, olives, rub garlic on the bread, or add anything else that you think will make a tasty addition.


This is the finished product. It may not look very fancy (well, because it's not fancy), but it tastes delicious!

Gawdi! 
{enjoy}

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