Tuna Meatballs with Caponata / Polpettine di Tonno can Caponatina

Serves 4


  • For the caponatina
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 small Japanese eggplant, diced
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 anchovies in olive oil, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of capers in salt, well rinsed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
  • Tuna Meatballs
  • 2 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled or microwaved, peeled and mashed
  • 1 6.ounce jar Italian tuna fillets in olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers in salt, well rinsed and drained, minced
  • 2 anchovy fillets in olive oil, minced
  • Grinding black pepper
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Peanut or sunflower oil for frying


  1. For the Caponatina
  2. Film a sauté pan with olive oil and cook the vegetables one at a time; transfer the vegetables as they cook to a platter.
  3. Film the pan again with olive oil and add the anchovies and cook them until they dissolve in the oil. Stir in the capers. Add the vegetables and combine well. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to let the flavors mingle while making the meatballs.
  4. For the Meatballs
  5. Dump everything in a bowl, except the breadcrumbs and oil; mix well. With your hands, form small meatballs as for appetizers or make 8 golf ball size to serve 4. Roll them in breadcrumbs and fry them until golden brown in the oil.
  6. Drain on paper towels or brown paper.
  7. Make a bed of the caponatina on each of 4 plates; garnish with the minced mint and basil. Top with a couple of the meatballs and serve with crusty bread.

This recipe was featured on Season 29 - Episode 2910.

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No diced tomatoes or olives? Way, way too much olive oil. The tuna meatballs look scrumptious. Thanks.


I think the caponata looks fabulous. It’s not the way I normally make it but I’m going to try it.

Barbara F. DUNLAP

I learned so much from watching you cook tonight on PBS and am anxious to try cooking my vegies separately as you suggest. Thank you.

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