ħobż biż-żejt is one of the most known and popular of Maltese dishes. Very tasty and easy to make, it is ideal ideal for picnics or an afternoon snack by the sea after a refreshing swim. The main ingredients are also very easy to find in pretty much any supermarket or grocery store around the corner. And if you cannot find the ingredients, the shop attendant will be happy to help you find them. The traditional ħobż biż-żejt is made up out of fresh Maltese bread, layered with fresh tomatoes or tomato paste (called ‘Kunserva’ in Maltese), olive oil, salt and pepper. Other ingredients are added to taste and can vary widely. When I ate this for the first time, I had only Tuna added on, other times capers, olives, green peppers and fresh anchovy were added on as well.
ħobż biż-żejt is popular as part of a picnic or served in the small village bars as a snack. Sometimes the bread is also toasted, reminding me of Bruschetta. Versatile, you can make a single serving or make enough to serve a whole family.
The version I like to make in summer, is with a fresh ciabatta, ‘kunserva’, tuna flakes, olive oil, pepper and rucola.
- 1 fresh small ciabatta
- 1 can of tuna in oil (not in brine)
- a good squeeze of tomato paste to cover the ciabatta
- a handful of rucola
- some olive oil to drizzle
- pepper for flavour
Slice the ciabatta in half with a bread knife and cut through so you have 2 halves.
With a knife spread the kunserva on the bread enough to cover the bread half well and so you can taste the tomato paste clearly.
Open up your can of tuna and drain half the oil from it. Carefully divide the tuna flakes over the bread with a fork.
Drizzle over some extra olive oil and season with pepper.
Add on the rucola and place the top of the ciabatta back on top of the tuna and rucola.
Serve fresh next to the sea or as a meal over lunch.