“Polpette” is a very popular dish in Italy, but definitely one you won’t find in a restaurant. These earthy tuna and potato patties are a dish people make at home and that is normally consumed as a “secondo”, accompanied by a side of vegetables, like cooked zucchini or spinach.
The word “polpette” is usually translated in English as “meatballs”, but as you can see from the photos, these tuna and potato patties are nothing like the meatballs you are accustomed to in the famous Italian American dish “Spaghetti and Meatballs”.
To your surprise, that dish is not very popular in Italy and those little balls of ground beef, herbs and spices are rather known as “polpettine” and they are usually served as a “secondo” (the protein based dish that comes after the “primo”) in a tomato based gravy.
When I was growing up, “polpette” (the actual “polpette”) was one of the dishes I loved the most and I always asked my mom to make it. Ever since we found out about my issues with gluten and dairy, we modified the original recipe (you can still find here on my parent’s blog if you want to translate from Italian) to make it allergy free.
Also, while these tuna and potato patties are usually fried, we have always preferred to keep things healthier and have always baked them in the oven instead.
I love this simple and tasty recipe because the patties have a soft and tasty heart and a crunchy, delicious crust, and they are even better when reheated! They last 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator, and you can always warm up one for an afternoon snack or more of you want to enjoy them as your main meal.
They match very well with mashed avocado (I added a few drops of lemon and pinch of salt in mine) and if you want you can add some cooked spinach in the mixture if you want to sneak some veggies in them.
Tuna and Potato Patties (Italian Polpette) - Dairy & Gluten Free
- 3.3 lbs Potatoes
- 11.2 oz Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, drained
- 3 sprigs of fresh Basil finely chopped
- 1 sprig of fresh Rosemary finely chopped
- *4 tbsp Grated Dairy Free Cheese *optional
- *1 Egg *optional
- ¼ tsp Himalayan Salt
For the Breading:
- 1.7 oz Walnuts
- 3 organic Corn Cakes replaceable with 1.7 oz - 50 gr Polenta Flour or Coarse Cassava Flour (such as Yoki or Amalfil)
- Take a pot large enough to fit all the potatoes, fill half of it with water and bring it to a boil.
- In the meantime, peel the potatoes and when the water starts boiling, add in the salt and cook the potatoes for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- When the potatoes start to get soft, strain them, pass them through a potato masher and combine them into a bowl together with the tuna, chopped basil and rosemary, and optional egg and cheese.
- Mix well until all ingredients are well combined (you should see small chunks of tuna in it).
- To prepare the gluten free breading, combine corn cakes and walnuts into a grinder and pulse until reduced in small crumbs. Transfer this breading in a soup dish.
- Shape the tuna and potato mixture into patties that are about 0.7” (2 cm) thick and have a 2.7” (7 cm) diameter.
- Once you formed the patties with your hands, pass them in the dish with the breadcrumbs until they are evenly coated.
- Arrange the “polpette” over a baking pan covered with parchment paper and bake at 375 F (190 C°).
- After 30 minutes, help yourself with a spatula to flip them upside down and continue baking them for 20 more minutes.
- Transfer on a plate and serve hot, with vegetables and/or mashed avocado.
I am sure you’ll love my family recipe for these Tuna and Potato Patties and I can’t wait to see your recreations!!
Lots of love and ciao!