By Pippa Mattei
Photo by Rachel Zammit Cutajar
Every Maltese person has their own version of hobz biz-zejt. Do you serve it with fresh tomatoes, kunserva or both? Do you use tinned tuna or anchovy fillets or no fish at all? The toppings may vary but what remains consistent is the importance of fresh Maltese bread. My favourite way is to simply rub slices of Maltese bread with half a ripe tomato, spread with kunserva, drizzle with some good-quality local olive oil, vinegar and season with Maltese rock salt and freshly ground pepper. You can eat as it is, or top with some chopped local olives and capers, and maybe top with tinned tuna or fillets of anchovies. It can also be served with Maltese fresh cheeses (gbejniet friski) or when in season, with twice peeled broad beans (ful). Fresh herbs are also a great addition. Fresh mint adds an extra boost of flavour to this simple meal.
Sometimes I prepare a tahlita that is a mix, which I put in a large jar and into the fridge ready for any hungry souls that find their way into my kitchen, or even better to take on the beach or boat with the sliced fresh bread. The mix is then handy to top the bread slices when required!
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp kunserva (tomato puree)
- 6 olives, pitted and chopped
- 2 tbsp good quality Maltese capers (choose the small ones)
- Good amount olive oil
- 2 tbsp vinegar (balsamic or other)
- Freshly ground pepper and rock salt
- 1 small tin tuna fish in oil or a few anchovy fillets (optional)
- Chop all ingredients well and put into a large clean jar.
- Add the oil and vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix well with a long spoon, close jar and keep in fridge till needed.
For more of Pippa Mattei’s recipes, to purchase her award-winning cook boos or to book cooking classes with her, visit her website at www.pippamattei.com