Fare With A Flair: Fish spreads, dips can be quick and easy

Anchoiade (French anchovy dip) at Jill's Table in London. (Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press)

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There’s something fishy in the air this week, and that’s a good thing.

I’m recommending some of my “go to” super easy dips and spreads that can be made with canned fish and prepared at a moment’s notice.

I always have quality tuna packed in olive oil in my pantry. It’s an essential for so many dishes — and particularly handy for a quick appetizer.

My first two recipes feature this ingredient.

One is a slightly creamy spread that I made when I was in Portugal last spring and features just a spoonful of port ­— a wonderful fortified wine. This delicious spread can be served with an assortment of crackers or with vegetables.

The second is a tangy dip, including capers, fresh lemon juice and zest and chopped parsley — so easy and so delicious.  

Last but not least is something for serious anchovy lovers. It’s a bold, garlicky concoction called anchoiade. I have fond memories of eating this in a French restaurant with fresh crudités and bread. It’s one of the best dips I’ve had in many years.

These are easy, delicious and perfect for this busy time of year.

Tuna Spread

(makes about 1 cup)

1 160-gram can oil-packed tuna, partially drained

3 tbsp. (45 ml) mayonnaise

1 tbsp. (15 ml) chopped sweet onion

1 tbsp. (15 ml) chopped basil

1 tsp. (5 ml) tawny port

A few drops of piri piri or other hot sauce

1 small clove garlic, minced

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Chill until ready to serve.

Zesty Tuna Lemon and Caper Spread

(Makes 16)

1 small lemon

1 160-gram can oil-packed tuna, partially drained

3 tbsp. (45 ml) finely chopped parsley

2 tbsp. (25 ml) chopped capers

1 green onion, chopped

1 small clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

16 crostini

1. Remove the zest of the lemon with a rasp. Put in a small bowl.

2. Juice the lemon and put juice in the bowl with the zest.

3. Add the tuna, parsley, capers, onion and garlic. Stir to combine.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Serve with crostini.

Anchoiade (French Anchovy Dip)

1 large clove garlic, peeled

2 oz. oil-packed anchovies

2 tbsp. (25 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1½ tsp. (7 ml) white wine vinegar

Assorted raw vegetables

 1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a small food processor. Blend until smooth.

2. Serve with an assortment of crudités (raw vegetables).

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